Compost, Recycle, Trash

While you’re sorting your compost and recycling, Recology is finding new ways to reuse your materials. Whether you’re a business owner, property manager, or resident, we will work with you to tailor programs based on your needs. Wondering what goes where?


Food scraps, soiled paper, and yard trimmings go in the green compost Recology cart. Request a kitchen compost pail.


Paper, cardboard, glass bottles, aluminum/tin cans, and hard plastics (no plastic bags or thin film plastics) go into the blue recyclables Recology cart.


What is trash? Not much! Film plastics (bags & thin plastic wrap), cat litter, ceramics, and broken glass to name a few.  Less of these items placed in the landfill Recology cart the better.

Drop Off

Drop off materials and learn more about disposal rates at the Recology San Francisco Transfer Station.


If you have extra cardboard or boxes, please flatten to 2’ x 2’ max and bundle them together using a box or paper bag. You may place the bundle in or next to your Recology blue cart at the curb. If you place the cardboard in your Recology blue cart, the lid on your cart must be fully closed at pickup.  Additional collection charges may apply when cardboard is placed next to your recycling cart.


The Recology zero waste rate structure incentivizes residents to recycle and compost more, instead of tossing recoverable materials in the landfill cart. For example, customers who opt for a larger recycling carts and a smaller landfill cart are able to lower their monthly bill. Learn more about rates.

We accept all food scraps, soiled paper, and plants in the green composting cart. Only bio-plastics labeled “compostable” and displaying a green or brown stripe may be placed in your green Recology 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
(rule of thumb: anything that used to be alive)

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

Food Soiled Paper

  • Coffee filters
  • Greasy pizza boxes
  • Paper cups and plates
  • Paper ice cream containers
    (metal or plastic rim is OK)
  • Paper bags, napkins, tissues and towels
  • Paper take-out boxes and containers
    (metal handle OK)
  • Tissues
  • Waxy paper milk and juice cartons
    (no foil liner, plastic spout OK)

  • 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 to allow for easy identification)
  • Vegetable wood crates (metal wire is okay)
  • Waxed cardboard and paper
  • Wood – small pieces of lumber or sawdust from clean wood only
    (no plywood, press board, painted,
    stained or treated wood)
  • Wooden chop sticks
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 – Natural (Drop in barrels at Whole Foods)
  • Corks – plastic
  • Diapers
  • Dirt, rocks or stone
  • Flower pots or trays
  • Foil-backed or plastic-backed paper
  • Glass, metal or plastic not labeled “Compostable”
  • Juice or soy milk type boxes with foil liner
  • 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.

Acceptable Recycling Materials
Please lightly rinse food and beverage containers and crush plastics

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

Plastic (except those labeled “compostable.” No plastic bags, wrappers or Styrofoam)

  • 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
Paper (clean, dry and unsoiled)

  • Bags (paper only, no plastic)
  • Cardboard (non-waxed)
  • Cereal boxes and Paperboard(remove plastic liner)
  • Computer and office paper
  • Egg cartons
  • 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, linens and rags
  • Coat hangers
  • Electronics
  • Foil-backed or plastic-backed paper
  • Food scraps
  • Glass mirrors and windows
  • Juice or soy milk type boxes with foil liner
  • Incandescent light bulbs,
    Fluorescent light bulbs and HIDs
  • Plastic bags, wrappers or film
  • Plastic items mixed with metal, fabric or rubber
  • Plastic labeled “Compostable” or “Biodegradable”
  • Scrap metal
  • Soiled paper (paper cups, plates, napkins, tissues, towels, take-out boxes and greasy pizza boxes)
  • Styrofoam
  • Waxed cardboard and paper
  • Waxy paper milk or juice cartons
  • 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.

Acceptable Landfill Items
Only place materials that cannot be reused or recycled in your trash

Unacceptable Trash
  • Cat litter and animal feces (bagged)
  • Ceramic dishware or glassware
  • Clothing linens and rags
  • Cigarette Butts (extinguished – run under water prior to disposal)
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Foil-backed or plastic-backed paper
  • Glass mirrors and windows
  • Incandescent light bulbs
    (no fluorescents or HIDs)
  • Juice or soy milk type boxes with foil liner
  • Mylar (shiny metal) bags (potato chips, candy bars, balloons, etc)
  • Pens and pencils
  • Plastic bags, wrappers and film
    (not labeled “Compostable”)
  • Plastic items mixed with metal, fabric 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 chemicalsLarge items (furniture, metal, plastic, wood)
      Liquids or ice
      Motor oil
      Needles or syringes
      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.