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.

We accept all food scraps, soiled paper, and plants in the green composting cart. Items clearly labeled “compostable” and displaying a green or brown stripe may also be placed in your green cart. Contact us to change the size of any of your carts or to get a free kitchen pail.

Acceptable Composting Materials
Unacceptable Materials
Food Scraps:

  • Bread, grains and pasta
  • Coffee grounds with paper filter
  • Dairy
  • Eggshells and eggs
  • Fruit (pits & peels)
  • Leftovers and spoiled food
  • Meat (including bones)
  • Seafood (including shellfish)
  • Tea and tea bags
  • Vegetables

Food Soiled Paper:

  • Coffee filters
  • Greasy pizza boxes
  • Paper plates
  • Paper bags, napkins, tissues and towels
  • Paper take-out boxes and containers (metal handle OK)
  • Tissues

  • Branches and brush
  • Flowers and floral trimmings
  • Grasses and weeds
  • Leaves
  • Tree trimmings (less than 6 inches in diameter and 4 feet long)


  • Cotton balls and cotton swabs
  • Hair, fur, and feathers (non-synthetic)
  • Plastic and cutlery clearly labeled “compostable”
    (green stripe or sticker)
  • Vegetable wood crates (metal wire is okay)
  • Waxed cardboard
  • Wood – small pieces of lumber or sawdust from clean wood only (no plywood, press board, painted, stained or treated wood)
  • Wooden chop sticks
  • Corks – natural

  • 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 not labeled “Compostable”
  • 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


  • Clean, dry, empty plastic bags inside a clear plastic bag (the size roughly of a basketball)
  • Bottles (leave caps on)
  • Buckets (metal handle ok)
  • CD’s, DVD’s, CDROM & Cases (remove paper insert)
  • Coffee cup lids
  • Containers and clamshells
  • Corks – plastic
  • 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

Fabrics (must be bagged):

  • Linens – Clean and placed in clear bag. Towels, curtains okay.
  • Fabric – Clean and placed in clear bag. Rips, holes, single socks okay. No sneakers, boots, belts, or purses.
  • Rags – Clean and placed in clear bag. Towels, curtains okay.
  • Clothes – Rips, holes, single socks okay. Place clean clothes in clear bag. If clothes are in good condition, please donate them to a thrift store.
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
  • Coat hangers
  • Electronics
  • Food scraps
  • Glass mirrors and windows
  • Incandescent light bulbs,
    Fluorescent light bulbs and HIDs
  • Plastic items mixed fabric or rubber
  • 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
  • Coat hangers
  • 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
  • Waxy paper milk or juice cartons

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.