Compost, Recycle, & Landfill - Recology San Francisco
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Compost, Recycle, & Landfill

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, & yard trimmings go in the compost cart – this includes anything from coffee grounds and napkins, to spoiled foods and peels.

Paper, cardboard, glass bottles, aluminum/tin cans, and hard plastics go into the recyclables cart.

What is trash? Not much! Cat litter, ceramics, & broken glass to name a few.  Less of these items placed in the landfill cart the better.

Contact us to change or start service. 

Drop Off

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

Cardboard2x2x2 cardboard bundle

Residential customers with extra cardboard or boxes should flatten them to 2’ x 2’ x 2′ max and bundle with string or place them in boxes and Recology will collect the extra cardboard. 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. Please email customer service at  at least one business day in advance to ensure pickup.


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 cart and a smaller landfill cart are able to lower their monthly bill. Learn more about rates.


Beyond Waste Collection Services

Recology provides recycling, composting, and landfill collection services for residential and commercial customers in San Francisco.

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:

  • 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)
  • “Compostable” cups, plates, bowls, utensils
  • Vegetable wood crates (metal wire is okay)
  • Waxed cardboard
  • Wood – small pieces of lumber or sawdust from clean wood only (no plywood, pressboard, painted, stained, or treated wood)
  • Wooden chopsticks
  • Corks – natural (drop in barrels at Whole Foods)
  • 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, pressboard, 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 will 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


  • Bottles (leave caps on)
  • Buckets (metal handle ok)
  • CDs, DVDs, 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):

  • 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
  • Clothing/Fabric ( we suggest donating to a shelter or thrift store)
  • 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?

Residential customers with extra recycling 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’x2′) max.  Additional collection charges will apply for material that does not fit into your cart with the lid fully closed. 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, pressboard, 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.