FAQs for Apartment Building Owners & Managers

These changes are projected to increase overall rates by 14.42%. However, specific service levels, collection frequency, and landfill diversion rate will determine monthly rates for individual apartment buildings.

The most impactful changes for apartment buildings include:

  • A decrease in the per-gallon charges and dwelling-unit charges.
  • The total volumetric charge that is not eligible for a diversion discount incentive is raised from 10% to 25%.
  • Distance charges are applicable to bins located 50 feet or farther from the curb.
  • Key charges are levied on a “per bin” basis.
  • There are three ways to determine your diversion rate discount and see how potential service changes may affect your rate. You can call our Customer Service Department at (415) 330-1300 and one of our apartment building specialists will answer your questions. You can attend one of our apartment building owner/manager rate workshops. Or, you can utilize the online diversion percentage calculator by clicking here.
  • Refuse collection rates had remained essentially flat for the previous three years.The increase will help pay for:
  • 1.    Increased landfill disposal costs.
    2.    New 5-year labor agreement.
    3.    New wing on transfer station to receive compostable material.
    4.    New programs such as trash sorting and processing, abandoned waste collection, increased service of public litter cans to help keep the City clean.
  • Our apartment building specialists are available to assist. You can call us at (415) 330-1300 to talk on the phone or to arrange a meeting. We provide free waste audits and can meet you at your property.
  • One key solution to establishing and protecting your property’s diversion discount is to make sure your employees, contractors, and tenants are aware of all the things that can be recycled and composted and to encourage them to put these items in the appropriate bins.
  • Another important practice is to give tenants the tools they need to be successful recyclers. A kitchen compost pail is a vital tool. Apartment buildings that enjoy significant diversion discounts promote a culture of recycling and composting with their residents. The Cathedral Hill Apartments, for example, includes language in its lease requiring all renters to recycle and compost. The managers at Cathedral Hill asked themselves what are the areas of highest foot traffic on each floor and then set up recycling stations in those areas. In short, the managers at The Cathedral Hill Apartments made recycling and composting easy and convenient for their residents.If you utilize a janitorial service at your apartment building, it is critical your janitorial company understands that keeping recycling, composting, and trash materials separate saves your building money and is important to you.
  • Set up recycling and composting stations in common areas with high foot traffic, such as lobbies, near the elevators, and in parking lots. Post clear signage showing what items can be recycled and what should be composted. Very little goes in the trash bin.
  • Using color-coded bins – blue for recycling, green for composting, and black for landfill – can be very effective in helping people sort their discards correctly.
  • Encourage tenants to use a kitchen counter compost pail and small recycling bins in their apartments and then to empty them in the correct building bins for collection.
  • Provide your tenants with friendly reminders, newsletter articles, and other materials that can be downloaded and posted in your building or emailed to tenants.
    • Clean paper and envelopes
    • Newspapers
    • ALL bottles (glass and plastic)
    • Glass jars
    • Hard plastics, such as plastic cups and plastic boxes that once contained pre-washed salads
    • Plastic tubs
    • Clear plastic clamshell containers, such as the ones delis and some restaurants use for take-out foods
    • Cardboard. Please break down cardboard boxes and place them in your recycling (blue) bin.
  • Coffee grounds
  • Food-soiled paper, such as coffee filters and tea bags
  • Food scraps, including cooked meats, fish bones, vegetable and fruit peelings
  • Dead flowers and plants
  • Not much:
      • Cat feces (They contain ammonia.)
      • Potato chip bags (They are metal on the inside, printed with bright inks, and coated with multiple layers of polyethylene.)
      • Latex and rubber gloves
      • Dirty disposable diapers
      • Used, empty toothpaste tubes.
  • The most immediate reference is the stickers on the lids of the bins.Clear signage above bins can also provide a great reference for tenants. Building managers and owners can review and download stickers and signs at Recology.com.
  • Tenants who want to double-check which materials go in which bins can quickly get the answer via a new online search tool. That URL is SFRecycles.org.
  • Customers are encouraged to rinse or wipe out containers. Please pour liquids out of bottles and cans before tossing them in the blue recycling bin.Please do not toss jars if they still have food. It is not appropriate to put food of any kind in the blue bin. If condiments are no longer edible, please empty container contents into a kitchen compost pail and then recycle the jar or bottle.
  • Most people find the easiest way to compost at home is to use a kitchen compost pail. Line it with a “COMPOSTABLE” liner bag, small paper bag, or a little newspaper. Put coffee grounds and vegetable peelings inside. Before going to bed, they can empty the kitchen pail into their apartment building’s larger composting collection (green) bin. This method reduces landfill disposal and helps eliminate odors.
  • Many different models are sold at department, kitchenware, and hardware stores. Recology provides basic models to customers at no charge. Just call our Customer Service Department at (415) 330-1300 or stop by our office at 900 7th Street.
  • Coffee grounds and vegetable peelings are great materials to place in the kitchen compost pail. Both are rich in nutrients and minerals, which help make good compost.  Also, coffee grounds and vegetable peelings do not produce odors, so they are excellent materials to place in your kitchen pail.
  • You can toss many other types of scraps in your kitchen pail too. Examples include pizza crusts, chicken and fish bones, avocado peels and pits.
  • Placing these items your building’s green composting collection bin reduces landfill disposal and helps San Francisco make compost that is applied to local farms and vineyards as a natural soil amendment.
  • Healthy soil supports healthy plants, which through photosynthesis return carbon and nitrogen to the soil. So when food scraps are put in kitchen compost pails in San Francisco and the pails are emptied into the green curbside composting collection bins, we help turn local farms into carbon sinks.
  • One solution is to utilize a “COMPOSTABLE” liner bag.Another is to place some soiled paper, such as a used paper napkin, inside your kitchen pail. The napkin will absorb moisture, thereby reducing odor.And it’s a good practice to encourage tenants to empty their kitchen pails regularly into the building’s composting collection bin.
  • The building manager can request a battery bucket. Recology will deliver the bucket, an informational poster, and some postcards that can be distributed to tenants to notify them of the program.When the bucket is full, anyone can call the number on the bucket for a free pickup.
  • We collect large electronics, such as old TV sets and broken vacuum cleaners, through the Bulky Item Recycling Program. Call our Customer Service Department at (415) 330-1300 to schedule a collection appointment or use our dedicated website BulkyItemRecycling.com.