In the News

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San Francisco celebrates composting achievements

San Francisco diverts 78 percent of all waste generated in the city away from landfill disposal through source reduction, reuse, and recycling and composting programs. By working together, the City, Recology and the San Francisco Department of Environment have been able to provide some of the most innovative and advanced waste reduction programs in the country. These programs have landed San Francisco the honor of being named the Greenest City in North America and a perfect score for resource recovery and recycling category in the 2011 Siemens Green City Index. The City’s easy-to-use, readily available programs such as the curbside green bin program are shaping the country’s approach to waste.

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A food garden grows at the site of the future Muslim Community Center in North Portland

On a recent Saturday, a vacant lot on North Vancouver Avenue between Killingsworth and Emerson streets is crowded with people. There’s a grill going and people load up their plates with food while others dig, carry topsoil and push heavy wheelbarrows.

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Mayor Ed Lee Celebrates City Composting Achievements

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced San Francisco reached a major environmental milestone last November having collected a million tons of compostable material through Recology’s green bin program, and today, the millionth ton returns to San Francisco to be applied as nutrient-rich compost to fertilize gardens and grow healthy, organic foods.

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The Urban Quest for "Zero Waste"

Across the country, a handful of municipalities are radically reducing the amount of refuse they send to landfills, with the eventual goal of reaching "zero waste." Seattle recycles or composts more than half of what its residents toss out. San Francisco diverts 77% of its waste from landfills. Even sprawling Los Angeles recycles or composts about two-thirds of its garbage.

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San Francisco's Utopic Dump: Visual Artists Remake City's Trash into Treasure

In their book, Cradle to Cradle, authors William McDonough and Michael Braungart lament the one-way, cradle-to-grave model of our industrial system. The detritus in our landfills—upholstery, old furniture, computers, paper and food—is the end of the road for products made from material "that required effort and expense to extract and make, billions of dollars’ worth of material assets." Yet once they’re in the landfill, the materials’ value goes to waste.

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What We Save Together

In 2001 and 2002 San Francisco upgraded the city's curbside recycling program by giving people larger blue bins and by adding green bins for food scraps and plants.

How much material has San Francisco recycled in 10 years through the curbside recycling and composting program provided by Recology?

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Recycling Supervisor's Idea Becomes Citywide Program for Social Good in S.F.

David Nanney, a supervisor at Recycle Central, the recycling plant Recology operates in San Francisco to sort bottles, cans, and paper, noticed the occasional BART ticket moving across a set of screens inside the plant.

BART riders often have multiple tickets with remaining value and some people toss them in their recycle bin. But because the tickets are made of a very thin plastic and are lightweight they present a unique challenge inside the plant.

At Nanney's suggestion, plant management enlisted the help of the recycling sorters to watch for the occasional BART ticket and toss them in special collection boxes.

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Small Puppy, Named Gem by Recology Workers, Inspires Outpouring of Community Love

Recology PuppyThousands of people are hearing about the story of Gem, the puppy that recycling workers, Gregory Foster and Arturo Pena, pulled off a conveyor belt carrying wood, metal, concrete, and other construction debris. Somehow, the pup survived: being put in a plastic garbage bag, trucked to the dump in a big metal debris box, piled up with tons of construction debris, scooped up by a tractor, and run across pounding shaker screens.

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Recology Celebrates Five Year Milestones

Five years ago, on April 27, 2009, Norcal Waste Systems was rebranded as Recology. Why the name change? Well, it's because the new name more accurately reflects who we are today and where we see ourselves in the future.

The company's new name is deeply rooted in its heritage dating back over 90 years ago as one of the nation's first urban recyclers.  Recology, with its name clearly associated with the words recycling, renewal, reuse and reduction, intends to lead the evolution of the industry by eliminating waste from the vocabulary of consumers and municipalities alike.

Our name, Recology, continues to support our vision to see a world without waste and to follow our mission to build exceptional resource ecosystems in the communities we serve.

Read the complete story on our blog.

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Reducing Food Waste from the Source

We first turned our attention to food waste in 1996 when Recology implemented a food scraps collection program in San Francisco. Still in use today, the green bin program ensures that organic material, such as food scraps and yard trimmings, do not end up in landfills. Many other Recology companies and cities have implemented similar programs, including San Mateo County and San Bruno. You can learn more about the affects of landfilling organics here: US Composting Council - Keeping Organics out of Landfills.

Although we think it's important to recycle food scraps when possible, we think it's just as important to consider ways to reduce food waste altogether.

Read the complete story on our blog.

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Recology Raises Cancer Awareness in Solano with Pink Toters

Recology Vacaville Solano is asking Solano County residents to "think pink."

Toter-wise, that is. It's all to help raise awareness and funding for the Solano Midnight Sun Breast Cancer Foundation.

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Three Cheers: Mom grateful for Recology’s friendship with her son

Editor's Note: Recology Yuba-Sutter received a letter from customer Kelly Trudell in Plumas Lake thanking their employees for their friendship with her son, 5-year-old Caiden, who has high functioning autism.

I'm writing to say thank you, for having the most amazing employee(s) EVER.

First, let me give you a little background on our love for Recology. Caiden, our now 5-year-old, had been faithfully watching Recology dump our cans for four-plus years now, since the age he could first stand at our upstairs window.

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Recology grows, donates produce for those in need
Recology employees maintain a sizeable community garden at their Northern California organics facilities at Jepson Prairie Organics in Vacaville, and Recology Grover Environmental Products in Vernalis.
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Recology: More San Bruno residents getting on board with voluntary composting

San Bruno's pilot composting program, Organics, expanded this past January and since the program was implemented, 300 tons of compostable materials on average have been collected monthly from San Bruno residences and businesses.

"That's a great number," said Robert Reed, public relations manager for resource recovery company Recology, which operates the composting pilot. Composting initiatives collect food scraps and landscape materials for recycling into soil amendment.

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San Francisco Garbage Collector Has His Ups and Downs

Dave Franzoia, 54, offers simple advice to collecting garbage from San Francisco's Telegraph Hill: "You just put it out of your head, you just do your job," the veteran Recology garbage collector said sagely.

The advice doesn't fully illuminate much of the cliffhangers of Franzoia’s job - hauling trash bins up and down sprawling stairways on the city’s famous hill - where roads sometimes don’t reach.

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