San Francisco recycling program gets upgrade, eyes zero waste

The San Francisco Department of Environment and Recology announced Thursday changes to the city’s recycling program that will allow businesses and residents to recycle more than ever before.

The agencies are introducing bigger, blue recycle bins and smaller, black waste bins. The green compost bins will stay the same, according to Debbie Raphael, Director of San Francisco Department of the Environment.

“We are further reducing the need for our black bin and getting ever that much closer to our zero waste goals,” Raphael said.

The following items are now welcome in the blue recycling bin:

Empty paper cups (e.g., coffee cups, including sleeve and plastic lid)
Empty paper cartons (e.g., milk cartons, juice boxes, ice cream containers)
Plastic bags and wrap (e.g., bubble wrap, shrink wrap) – must be contained in a plastic bag before putting in blue bin
The changes are possible thanks to new, state-of-the-art equipment at Recology’s recycling site at Pier 96.

“San Francisco is on its way to get to zero waste and we are going to get there sooner than 2020, I believe, if we keep going at this pace,” London Breed, President of San Francisco Board of Supervisors, said.

In addition, Reoclogy they have reconfigured their trucks to accommodate more recyclables and less waste. The changes are the biggest update to the city’s recycling and compost program since it launched more than 15 years ago.

According to SF Environment, the new materials update is effective immediately and coincides with new standard bin sizes and informational signage from Recology. New residential bins include a 16-gallon waste bin (smaller black), a 64-gallon recycling bin (larger blue) and a 32-gallon composting bin (same-size green). The new bins and signage have been introduced in the Sunset District and will roll out across the city over the next two years.

If you are unsure about which items go in which bins, you can visit