FAQs for Residential Customers

For a typical single-family home the residential rate, set by the City, is $40.04 per month. That monthly fee pays for weekly residential collection of all three bins: black, blue, and green.

  • 16-gallon trash (black)
  • 32-gallon composting (green)
  • 64-gallon recycling (blue)
  • The new standard combination of residential bins – 16-gal. trash, 32-gal. composting, and 64-gal. recycling – provides 112 gallons of total volume for weekly collection. That total provides 16 additional gallons of weekly collection compared to the old standard of three 32-gallon bins. So the new standard gives residential customers more total container volume to use.
  • If you want to keep your old bins and stay on the old standard, that’s fine. Please let us know that by calling our Customer Service Department at (415) 330-1300 or sending us an email through the “Contact Us” form at Recology.com.
  • There is no difference in price. In both cases, the residential rate, set by the City, totals $40.04 per month for weekly collection of all three bins.
  • A very good resource for comparative information is the online Residential Rate Calculator, which we maintain to allow customers to explore different bin options.Click here to go directly to the Residential Rate Calculator. You can also call our Customer Service Department at (415) 330-1300 and we will be glad to answer your questions about different bin sizes and monthly costs.
  • San Francisco accepts far more materials for recycling than other cities examples include juice and soup boxes, coffee cups and lids, and paper milk cartons.  We also encourage all residents and businesses to compost all of their food scraps in their property’s curbside composting (green) collection bins. Many San Franciscans do exactly that, so residents and businesses consistently say they have very little material in their trash (black) bins.
  • Additionally, significant increases in online shopping means the recycle stream now includes many more cardboard boxes that should be broken down and placed in blue bins for recycling.
  • Your compost and trash will now be collected by one split-chamber truck and your recyclables will be collected separately, and a different time, in a larger capacity single-chamber truck.
  • Your collection day will remain the same, but the timing of your 3 bin collection will change.
  • $46.30 per month. It is actually a good bargain as you are getting 32-gallons a week of increased service for only $1.44 a week ($6.26 / month).
  • Here is a comparison of residential rates charged per month:
    1. Piedmont $55.12
    2. Palo Alto $50.07
    3. Oakland $44.93
    4. Albany $42.03
    5. Mill Valley $41.23
    6. Larkspur $41.13
    7. Berkeley $40.68
    8. San Francisco $40.04
    9. Sausalito $40.00
    10. Alameda $39.60

Refuse collection rates had remained essentially flat for the previous three years.

The increase will help pay for key programs, including:

  1. Increased landfill disposal costs.
  2. New 5-year labor agreement.
  3. New wing on transfer station to receive compostable material and begin trash processing pilots.
  • Part of the rate increase that took effect on July 1, 2017 is associated with new programs such as trash sorting and processing, abandoned waste collection, increased service of public litter cans, and additional outreach and education.
    • Empty paper milk, juice, and beverage cartons
    • Empty soup and juice boxes
    • Clear, clean plastic bags placed inside a single, clear plastic bag
    • Worn textiles placed inside a clear plastic bag. If textiles are in good condition, please donate them to a thrift store or charity
    • 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
  • As little as possible. Examples of non-recyclable materials include:
      • 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.
  • Yes. People can find a complete listing online, including an easy-to-use search tool, at 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.
    • 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.
  • In San Francisco the answer is yes, and steak bones too. While such materials would be difficult to compost in a back or side yard, Recology’s modern facilities easily compost expired meat, cheese, and bones.
  • Use Recology’s Bulky Item Recycling program. This program is available to residential customers at no additional cost. Call our Customer Service Department at (415) 330-1300 to schedule a collection or use our bulky item collection form.
  • Place them in a clear, sealable plastic bag and put it on top of your trash (black) bin.
  • We collect large electronics, such as old TV sets and broken vacuum cleaners, through the Bulky Item Recycling Program. This program is available to residential customers at no additional cost. Call our Customer Service Department at (415) 330-1300 to schedule a collection appointment or use our bulky item collection form.
  • Recology operates a Household Hazardous Waste Facility at 501 Tunnel Ave. to receive and manage motor oil, old paint, and other household hazardous waste materials.
  • You must show an ID or other documentation confirming that you are a San Francisco resident to utilize this service. The facility is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. For more details, visit the SF Transfer Station page or call (415) 330-1405.
  • Plastic straws are too small to be recycled. The City encourages residents to decline plastic straws. Restaurants and other food-service businesses are encouraged to switch to thick paper straws, which can be composted.
  • The most immediate reference is the stickers on the lids of your bins. You can find a complete listing, including a search tool, at SFRecycles.org.
  • We post all of these things and more at Recology.com. We encourage people to download and share these tools.