While mandatory recycling laws are something starting to take shape in several cities across America, San Francisco is moving things a step further by requiring all residents to compost.

As MNN reported back in April, the new law -- which takes effect Oct. 21 -- requires every residence and business to have three separate color-coded bins for waste: blue for recycling, green for compost and black for trash. It's all part of an ambitious goal to reduce waste and have the city sending nothing to landfills or incinerators by 2020.

Fines won't be levied until early next year to allow homeowners to get used to the new sorting; but once they do take effect, people not participating can expect penalties of anywhere from $100 to $1,000 depending on warnings. "It's about a dialogue," Jared Blumenfeld, head of the Environment Department, told the SFGate. "As we've always promised, we are not going to start off fining people. ... Really our focus is to make sure tenants have the tools they need to recycle."

Food waste composting isn’t exactly new. Many of San Francisco’s residents and restaurants already send some 500 tons of food scraps to Recology's composting facility in Vacaville. The new law, however, will go a long way to encourage everyone to participate -- which should send Recology's numbers soaring, and make plenty of farmers, gardeners, and vintners very happy with the results.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

San Francisco starts mandatory composting this week
Becomes first city in the nation to require people to properly dispose of their organic garbage waste.