Recycling and Composting Rate

Residential and small business recovery rate represents the percentage of total refuse that is recovered through recycling and composting, and therefore not sent to a landfill. San Francisco’s small generator refuse collection program—known as “The Fantastic 3”—serves residential curbside, apartment, and small commercial generators. Over half of what still goes in the landfill bins can be recycled in the blue bin or composted. Recycling and composting are important because they conserve resources, combat climate change, and create jobs.


How Performance is Measured

This measure represents 15 percent of all refuse generation in San Francisco as of 2019. It captures a limited sample of residential curbside, apartment, and small commercial refuse generation. The San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment) is currently working with Recology to bring recycling and composting collection to remaining “challenged” residents and small businesses, including those with physical constraints (space or access) to recycling, composting, and trash bins. SF Environment is also conducting ongoing efforts to encourage recovery by educating residents and employees on how to properly separate materials into the proper bins.

The recovery rate is calculated by taking tons of recycled and composted material and dividing it by total tons of small generator refuse (recycling, composting, and trash). Recology reports to SF Environment monthly tons collected for each refuse stream (compostables, recyclables, landfill) minus “residual” materials. Residual materials are contaminants that come from recycling and composting streams that end up being landfilled.

The number displayed on the scorecard page represents a fiscal year average of the values in the chart above.


Please visit DataSF for the scorecard data.

Additional Information

Learn more about SF Environment's Zero Waste Initiative.