What Goes Where - Recology San Francisco
California Cont.
What Goes Where

What Goes Where?

Find out how to properly dispose of your items below. Customers may also drop off recyclables, hazardous waste, and bulky items at the SF Transfer Station. Please also visit SF Recycles for a comprehensive list of accepted items.

NEW – Find out more about what goes where in our new monthly virtual training sessions. Register online today!

We accept all food scraps, soiled paper, and plants in the green composting cart. Contact us to change the size of any of your carts.

Acceptable Composting Materials
Unacceptable Materials
Food Scraps:

  • All fruits and vegetables (including pits and shells)
  • Coffee grounds and tea leaves
  • Dairy products (no liquids)
  • Eggshells and eggs
  • Leftovers and spoiled food
  • Cooked meat (including bones)
  • Seafood (including shellfish)

Dirty, Soiled Paper:

  • Greasy pizza boxes and paper bags
  • Paper coffee filters and tea bags
  • Paper plates
  • Paper napkins, tissues, and paper towels
  • Paper take-out boxes and containers

  • All plant debris, including flowers, leaves, weeds, and
  • Tree trimmings (less than 6” in diameter and 4’ long)


  • Bags labeled “Compostable” or BPI
  • “Compostable” cups, plates, bowls, utensils
  • Cooking grease: Small amounts can be soaked up with a paper towel and composted.
  • Corks (no plastic)
  • Cotton balls, cotton swabs with paper stems
  • Hair, fur, and feathers (non-synthetic/colored)
  • Vegetable wood crates (metal wire OK)
  • Waxed cardboard and paper
  • Wood: small pieces of clean wood/sawdust (no plywood/
  • Wooden chopsticks, coffee stirrers, toothpicks

  • Aluminum foil or trays
  • “Biodegradable” plastic not labeled compostable
  • Cat litter or animal feces
  • Ceramic dishware or glassware
  • Clothing, linens and rags
  • Cooking oil
  • Corks – plastic
  • Diapers
  • Dirt, rocks or stone
  • Flower pots or trays
  • Foil-backed or plastic-backed paper
  • Glass, metal or plastic
  • Soup cartons and juice boxes
  • Paper milk, juice and other beverage cartons
  • Liquids or ice
  • Plastic bags, wrappers or film
  • Recyclable/clean cardboard or paper
  • Styrofoam
  • Wood – plywood, press board, painted or stained wood

Do You Have Extra Yard Trimmings?

Place your extra yard trimmings next to your green Recology cart in a compostable bag or bundle them together with string into a manageable size (2’x3′). Please do not leave food scraps outside of your cart! The lid on your cart must be fully closed at pickup. Additional collection charges may apply. Contact us to change the size of your Recology cart.

Recycling must be loose, free of a plastic bag liner. Recycling must be clean and dry. Give food and beverage containers a light rinse.

Acceptable Recycling Materials Unacceptable Recycling Materials
Metal (no liquids or food):

  • Aluminum cans
  • Aluminum foil and trays (ball foil up to softball size)
  • Caps and lids from bottles, jars and steel (tin) cans
  • Paint cans (must be empty or dry)
  • Spray cans (must be empty)
  • Steel (tin) cans

Plastics (no liquids and food):

  • Bottles (leave caps on)
  • Buckets (metal handle ok)
  • Coffee cup lids
  • Containers and clamshells
  • Cups and plates (plastic only, no Styrofoam)
  • Flower pots and trays – plastic
  • Laundry detergent bottles
  • Molded plastic packaging
  • Toys (no electronics, metal or batteries)
  • Tubs and lids (i.e.,: yogurt containers and Tupperware)
  • Utensils – plastic
Paper (clean, dry and unsoiled):

  • Empty, clean coffee cups
  • Empty, clean ice cream containers
  • Soup cartons and juice boxes
  • Paper milk, juice and other beverage cartons
  • Bags (paper only)
  • Cardboard (non-waxed)
  • Cereal boxes and Paperboard (remove plastic liner)
  • Computer and office paper
  • Egg cartons (paper)
  • Envelopes (windows okay)
  • Junk mail and magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Packing or Kraft paper
  • Phonebooks
  • Sticky notes
  • Shredded paper (place in sealed paper bag and label “Shredded Paper”)
  • Wrapping paper

Glass (no liquids or food):

  • Glass bottles and jars only
    (metal caps and lids too)

  • Batteries
  • Ceramic dishware or glassware
  • Clothing/Fabric ( we suggest donating to a shelter or thrift store)
  • Coat hangers
  • Electronics
  • Food scraps
  • Glass mirrors and windows
  • Incandescent light bulbs,
    Fluorescent light bulbs and HIDs
  • Plastic labeled “Compostable” or “Biodegradable”
  • Scrap metal
  • Soiled paper (paper plates, napkins, tissues, towels, take-out boxes and greasy pizza boxes)
  • Styrofoam
  • Waxed cardboard
  • Wood
  • Yard trimmings

Do You Have Extra Recycling?

If you have extra recycling, you may place extra cardboard in a bin, cardboard box or paper bag next to your blue Recology cart at the curb. The cardboard must be broken down to a manageable size (2’x2’) max. The lid on your cart must be fully closed at pickup. Additional collection charges may apply. Contact us to change the size of your Recology cart.

Visit SF Environment’s website for options to donate reusable items.

Few things, once they are used, are actually trash. Among such things are non-recyclable plastics and other complex materials that were not designed to be recycled. Only place materials that cannot be reused or recycled in your trash.

Acceptable Landfill Items Unacceptable Trash Materials
  • Cat litter and animal feces (bagged)
  • Ceramic dishware or glassware
  • Cigarette Butts (extinguished – run under water prior to disposal)
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Glass mirrors and windows inside a double brown paper bag and smashed in small pieces
  • Incandescent light bulbs
    (no fluorescents or HIDs)
  • Mylar (shiny metal) bags (potato chips, candy bars, balloons, etc)
  • Pens and pencils
  • Plastic items mixed with metal or rubber
  • Plastic labeled “Biodegradable” only
  • Rubber bands
  • Six-pack ring holder – please cut up
  • Sponges
  • Styrofoam
  • Twist ties
  • Wood – small pieces of plywood, press board, and painted or stained wood

  • Appliances
  • Asbestos
  • Batteries
  • Construction debris
  • Cooking oil and grease
  • Dirt, rocks or stone
  • Electronics
  • Fluorescent or HID light bulbs
  • Food scraps, soiled paper or yard trimmings
  • Household hazardous waste or chemicals
  • Large items (furniture, metal, plastic, wood)
  • Liquids or ice
  • Motor oil
  • Needles or syringes
  • Paint
  • Plastic labeled “Compostable”
  • Recyclable cardboard, glass, metal, paper or plastic
  • Toys with electronics or batteries
  • Waxed cardboard and paper
  • Paper milk or juice cartons



Large blocks of clean Styrofoam™ can be dropped off for recycling at the Recology San Francisco Transfer Station at 501 Tunnel Avenue in San Francisco.

Do You Have Extra Trash?

If you have extra trash, that does not fit in your cart, set it out in a sealed bag on top of your Recology cart. Your Recology collector will pick it up and charge your account for the extra service. Contact us to change the size of your Recology cart.