Community Impact - Recology
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The Art of Recology

Recology believes that art plays a unique role in educating and inspiring the public. By supporting artists who create work from materials that have been thrown away, the Recology Artist in Residence (AIR) Programs encourage us to see discarded materials in a new light and reflect on our own consumption practices.

Founded in San Francisco in 1990, Recology AIR Programs now operate in four cities: San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Astoria. GLEAN in Portland is a collaboration between Recology, crackedpots, an environmental arts organization, and Metro, the regional government that manages the Portland metropolitan area’s garbage and recycling system. In Astoria, the Coastal Oregon Artist Residency (COAR), is a collaboration between Recology and Astoria Visual Arts.

Over 170 professional and 30 student artists have participated in these programs.

Supporting Local Artists

Our AIR Programs are designed to support local artists and art communities. Resident artists are provided with access to materials at our facilities, studio space and a stipend, and exhibitions are held at the end of each residency. After their residencies, artists leave artwork to be kept in Recology’s permanent collection. These pieces are shown in exhibitions that promote the power of reuse.

Artist Selection

Each AIR Program accepts applications annually from professional artists working in the local community. Artists are selected by advisory boards, and applications are evaluated based on a variety of criteria:

  • The artist’s demonstrated commitment to resource conservation and recycling through art
  • The artist’s experience in art education and/or environmental education
  • How well the residency can help provide the artist with professional growth
  • The quality of the artist’s previous work
  • The artist’s references
Volunteer Program

Giving Back to the Communities We Serve

The Recology Volunteer Program was established in 2008 to support local organizations that work to make our communities better to live in. Recology employees and community volunteers work together several times each year to beautify and restore community centers, retirement homes, parks, and other public spaces with fresh recycled paint, compost, drought resistant plants, and mulch.

In 2013/2014, almost 1,200 employees in California, Oregon and Washington participated in 34 volunteer events, committing over 8,000 hours in gardening, painting, and repairing facilities within communities we serve.

Volunteer Events

Photo of Marysville Habitat for Humanity Headquarters Cleanup

Marysville Habitat for Humanity Headquarters Cleanup

In May 2016 we joined forces with Habitat of Humanity to revitalize their new service hub for the homeless. We painted the facility’s interior and exterior using our recycled paint and spread Recology arbor mulch on the landscape in preparation for the facility’s grand opening later this year.

Photo of City of Patterson Community Cleanup

City of Patterson Community Cleanup

The City of Patterson is located near our Recology Blossom Valley Organics facility, and many of our compost customers live in this community. The city needed to clean up an overgrown thoroughfare in the main residential part of town – So, along with donating recycled mulch, we worked together to spread the material and help create an easy-to-maintain landscape.

Photo of City of San Francisco, Little Hollywood District Cleanup

City of San Francisco, Little Hollywood District Cleanup

Recology teamed up with SF Recreation & Park to beautify Little Hollywood Park in San Francisco. The park had become overgrown with weeds and dead leaves, and all the benches were rusty. Using recycled paint, we re-painted benches, walls, and handrails, and spread Recology compost throughout planter boxes. Closing the loop, we hauled multiple debris boxes of weeds and yard trimmings away, processing them into compost.

Education & Outreach

Beyond Waste Community Programs

Recology Waste Zero teams provide comprehensive education and outreach services with a goal to inspire sustainable behavior. These teams work closely with local community leaders, tailoring outreach programs to best serve the needs of our customers and communities.

Presentations & Trainings

Waste Zero teams deliver educational presentations in classrooms, lead hands-on trainings for restaurant and janitorial staff, and facilitate discussions in office environments. These services might include recycling games, waste sorting demonstrations, and more formal presentations related to resource recovery and waste reduction. Each year, the Recology Waste Zero teams conduct over 1,500 of these educational programs.

Site Visits & Consultations

Through more than 4,000 comprehensive site visits each year, Waste Zero teams ensure businesses, schools, and apartment complexes are subscribed to appropriate levels of collection service, and that receptacles are properly situated, labeled, and utilized. Results from on-site waste assessments can be consolidated into informative reports that communicate areas for improvement and provide best practice recommendations. In many situations, ensuring appropriate service levels and participation translates to costs savings for customers and more recoverable materials collected.

Tablings & Events

Recology is an active participant in community events – including festivals, parades, fairs, and Earth Month celebrations. Waste Zero teams at Recology engage the public at more than 600 events annually, providing information about the benefits of recycling and composting and answering questions about the proper disposal of specific materials, like hazardous or bulky items. Waste Zero teams often come prepared with interactive sorting games and eco-friendly giveaways that promote recycling and waste reduction.


Seeing is believing. Recology welcomes groups to tour many of our facilities, including recycling and composting facilities, transfer stations, and household hazardous waste facilities to provide an inside look at recovery operations. Recology hosts nearly 300 tours annually for more than 5,000 attendees, including school groups, commercial businesses, community partners, and industry professionals interested in learning more about how their actions impact the recovery process.

Our San Francisco operation provides an extensive tour program at our Environmental Learning Center, a dynamic education center where visitors can learn about what happens to the materials placed in curbside recycling, compost, and landfill bins.

Learn More

Success Stories

City of Mountain View, CA


Google employs over 20,000 employees at their Mountain View location. Their offices include large kitchens to accommodate meal prep for all employees.

Recology Mountain View’s Waste Zero Specialist worked with the sustainability team at Google to identify potential areas where the business could increase their recycling efforts. The goal was to increase compost and recycling participation in order to meet Google Green Initiatives and increase diversion.

Google’s offices make up about 8% of all commercial business in the City of Mountain View – none of which had compost containers at the time.

A waste audit revealed that most of their material was organic, and could be composted. Recology proposed introducing compost containers in all eating areas, outdoor event areas, and offices. We conducted educational opportunities for employees and kitchen staff, including presentations, signage, and Google Green staff training.


Google now has more compost and recycling bins than they do trash bins – 31% of the materials generated today is compost, and 37% is recycling. Today, diversion is 68%, whereas in 2011 it was 37%.

Recology: A World Without Waste

SeaTac, WA


Windsor Heights is a large multi-family property in SeaTac, Washington with a diverse population of residents.

Recology CleanScapes worked together with the property management team at King County Housing Authority to ensure that residents had the proper containers to maximize diversion.  Our goal was to improve the percentage of waste diverted from the entire property.

Upon working together, the property was using 10 garbage dumpsters, but just one recycling dumpster to serve the entire 324 unit site.


  • The Zero Waste Team paired every garbage dumpster with a recycling dumpster to instill new behavior.
  • They also delivered recycling education flyers to each household that were translated based on the the language spoken in the household.
  • They provided educational opportunities for children in the neighborhood, including a visit to the Recology CleanScapes Material Recovery Facility and The Recology Store.

Now, the property uses 9 garbage dumpsters and 11 recycling bins, which resulted in a 35% increase in waste diversion at the site. Because of these results, the property is interested in learning more about compost collection.

Recology: A World Without Waste

Government Partnership


We’re always looking for like-minded municipalities to partner with. We serve cities and counties under franchise agreements and in open market areas, such as Portland. Every partnership is unique, as we tailor services depending on demographics and landscapes, working together to maximize resource recovery.

For many of our municipalities, we invest in infrastructure that supports material recovery operations. Oftentimes, implementing technology and infrastructure are how we help cities reach their long-term sustainability objectives. This means updating the facilities where we operate, and building new facilities as needed.

South Bayside Waste Management Authority (SBWMA)
San Mateo County, CA

Since the start of service in 2011, our Recology San Mateo County Team performed over 4,800 waste audits. These outreach efforts helped achieve a 38.8% increase in recycling diversion and 34.9% increase in organics diversion. Most importantly, based upon the 2010 collected tonnage, Recology San Mateo County diverted 66,558 commercial tons from going to landfill.

The SBWMA includes the cities of Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos, and San Mateo, the towns of Atherton and Hillsborough, County of San Mateo, North Fair Oaks, and West Bay Sanitary District.

Learn more about Recology San Mateo County.

Yuba-Sutter Regional Waste Management Authority
Yuba and Sutter County, CA

Recology and the six jurisdictions it serves in Yuba & Sutter Counties achieved a 70% diversion rate in 2013 for the fifth consecutive year.  Approximately 43% of the diverted material was organics, collected through Recology’s food scraps and yard trimmings collection program.

Learn more about Recology Yuba Sutter.