SF Recycling & Composting Ordinance

The most comprehensive recycling and composting law in the U.S. (Recycling and Composting Ordinance)


How YOU can benefit

If you put compostables (food, plants, paper foodware, plastics labelled “compostable" not “biodegradable") in the landfill, you will create polluting greenhouse gasses.  About 25% of what is in the landfill can be composted.  So in 2009, San Francisco created the Recycling and Composting Ordinance which:

  • Created hundreds of jobs.
  • Can fine building owners $100-1,000 if they do not give tenants blue recycling, green composting, and black landfill bins and information on what to put in them.

Businesses can save up to 75% off their bill by reducing the size of their landfill bin or frequency of pick-up.

why this is a leading policy

This ordinance is the strictest and most comprehensive recycling and composting law in the U.S. because it requires everyone to comply: residents, businesses and governments.


To achieve zero waste by 2020.

who can take action

All residents, businesses and city departments.

You can help building owners get a friendly reminder.


Over 8,700 apartment buildings and 16,000 commercial buildings have composting and recycling services, giving the ordinance a 99% compliance rate.


Jack Macy, Commercial Zero Waste Coordinator at San Francisco Department of the Environment, (415) 355-3751, jack.macy@sfgov.org

last updated

August 14, 2015