Washington, DC residents will be required to compost

Washington, DC residents will be required to compost

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Washington, DC residents will have a third bin to take to the curb. (Source: WUSA/CNN) Washington, DC residents will have a third bin to take to the curb. (Source: WUSA/CNN)

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA/CNN) - People who live in Washington, DC will have to learn how to compost after the city council passed a bill requiring residents to take an extra step in their trash disposal.

Five years ago, San Francisco became the first big city in the U.S. to require all residents to compost.

Since then, several other cities on the west coast have followed suit, and now Washington wants in.

Recently, city council members passed a bill that will require all residents to separate their waste into three categories. DC residents are already required to separate their trash from their recycling. They're going to get a third bin for the compost.

"How do you haul that down three flights of stairs and separate that out? It's going to be a bit difficult," said Jessica Melton, a DC resident.

"I like the idea of it, but I don't know if I'm okay with it. But I have no idea how to compost. I'll have to ask my mother-in-law, I have no idea." She said.

Not to worry says the bill's sponsor councilwoman Mary Cheh, who says it will likely be 2017 before the program is in place.

"What we will do is move forward vigorously to educate people about what it means and how they can comply. That's what we want," she said.

"I already compost, so I think it's a great idea. It's pretty simple. You just have a little bin, you throw some stuff there, throw some grass over it, some leaves, it's really not a big intellectual step up. I think most people can handle it," said resident Richard Evans.

But not everyone shares the enthusiasm for the bins, especially when they learn eventually they could be fined for failing to separate their trash properly.

"I'm not excited about any more fines. It's bad enough with speed cameras, and all this other stuff. So I don't need a composting fine," another resident said.

Cheh understands people might be reluctant, but says it's the right thing to do.

"This is a new world that we're in. We're all on spaceship Earth and we have to conserve what we have and keep clean what we have," she said.

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