FAQs

The City regulates the refuse (trash, recycling, and composting) collection system. Recology, an employee-owned company, provides the collection service. Properties pay a monthly bill for the collection services they use.

Rate setting is a thorough and public process in San Francisco. People can:

  1. Ask questions of the City and Recology
  2. Attend and comment at public hearings held the Director of SF Public Works
  3. Give input to the Ratepayer Advocate

A typical single-family home in S.F. currently pays $35.18 per month. That price pays for Recology to empty all three bins – blue for recycling, green for compost, and black for trash. At residential properties Recology empties all three bins once a week.

The trash system in San Francisco includes several other services at no additional charge. Those services include:

      • Bulky Item Recycling
      • Community Clean Team Events
      • Household Hazardous Waste Services
      • Abandoned Waste Collection Services.
      • Public litter can collection

All of these services are undertaken to keep our city clean and increase recycling. What about household battery recycling?

  • $5.70 effective July 1, 2017
  • $1.80 effective July 1, 2018
  • $0.00 effective July 1, 2019
  • $0.27 effective July 1, 2020
  • The City looks at the complete rate proposal, including funding needed to continue existing programs and projects costs for options to improve services and necessary equipment and facilities. In considering these issues, City regulators look at historic costs and revenues and projected estimates for numerous factors such as: facility maintenance and improvements, labor, trucks, recycling equipment, bins, transportation expenses, fuel, insurance, revenue from the sale of recyclables, and more.
    • New wing on transfer station to receive compostable material
    • Redesigned routes including re-purposed and new trucks, and new sized trash and recycling bins
    • New 5-year labor agreement
    • Increased landfill disposal costs
  • Similar increases are proposed for apartment buildings; however, they can mitigate most of these impacts by recycling and composting more of their waste and thereby reducing landfill disposal. Recology will host workshops to help apartment building owners and managers explore different service scenarios and potential savings.
  • Click here to view detailed information concerning the rate proposal as it specifically relates to apartment buildings.
  • Commercial rates, on average, will adjust by the same percentage as residential rates; however, monthly collection rates for individual commercial customers will vary depending on that customer’s site-specific diversion rate. Commercial properties can quality for diversion discounts by recycling and composting more of their discards and thereby reducing the amount of trash they send to landfill disposal. Our Zero Waste Commercial Team is available to help businesses explore options.
  • To learn about ways to increase recycling and reduce disposal commercial customers can request a free waste audit by utilizing the “Contact us” form at www.RecologySF.com. Commercial customers who would prefer to speak with a zero waste specialist on the phone can call our Customer Service Department at 415-330-1300 and ask to be connected with a member of our Commercial Zero Waste Team.
  • San Francisco is doing a good job of recycling, but San Francisco residents and businesses still send 1,100 tons of garbage to the landfill every day. How much is 1,100 tons? That fills about 45 big semi-trucks (18-wheelers). That’s equal to more than 120 garbage trucks full. Day after day.
  • More than half of that material could instead be recycled or composted and should go in the blue and green bins. We cannot continue to bury 1,100 tons a day in the landfill. Why can’t we? One reason is that the Board of Supervisors set a goal of achieving zero waste, which means sending nothing to landfills and incinerators. Another reason is that landfills emit methane gas, which the US EPA says is 23 times worse as a greenhouse gas than what comes out of your car.
  • San Francisco has always set fair and reasonable rates and will do so again. The rate-setting process in San Francisco is one of the most complete, thorough, and transparent rate-setting procedures in the country. It includes public workshops, public hearings, an independent rate payer advocate, and an independent rate board which includes the City administrator, the City controller, and the general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
  • The process also includes a draft application, thorough review by the City, a formal application, and a second round of review featuring question-and-answer sessions in public meetings.
  • The thorough and transparent rate-setting process ensures rates are fair and reasonable. San Francisco enjoys competitive rates and more services than other communities. That spells value for San Franciscans and a program that other communities look to as a model for the nation.
  • Part of the rate increase is associated with new programs the City wants Recology to provide. These programs include trash sorting and processing, abandoned waste collection, increased service of public litter cans, and additional outreach and education to help people better understand how recycling and composting aid in protecting the environment.
  • The City is growing. More residents mean more discards in total and a need to educate new people how to participate in our City’s recycling and composting collection programs.
  • With the growth of smart phones and the associated increase in online shopping, San Francisco’s waste stream now has far more medium-sized cardboard boxes. We need improved trucks and recycling systems to collect and recycle the additional boxes.
  • To accommodate other changes and further increase recycling, we also propose to re-purpose our split collection trucks and redesign many collection routes.