Cultural Impact - Recology
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.

San Francisco artists

GLEAN artists 

Recology King County 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.

Images San Francisco

Images GLEAN

Images Recology King County Seattle


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


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.

Latest Volunteer Events

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.
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.
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


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.