Step by step

Summary of the Refuse Rate-Setting Process

Understand the steps of how rates are set for refuse collection in San Francisco.

This process is in place to reform and modernize the City’s process for setting residential refuse rates. The goal is to be more fair, transparent, and accountable as the City continues to pursue its Zero-Waste goals. Four principles govern the process:

• Refuse service shall be cost-effective and meet established service standards and environmental goals.

• The refuse rate structure shall encourage rate stability and ensure rates are reasonable and fair.

• The process used to establish and monitor rates shall be transparent, accountable, and publicly accessible.

• The work of the Refuse Rate Board and the City Controller, who shall act as Refuse Rates Administrator, shall be conducted in line with high professional ethical standards.

See more details on the rate-setting process. 



Rate Changes Requested by Recology


February 2023

During this step, the Refuse Rates Administrator (The Controller’s Office) accepts requests from Recology who put forward the rates (i.e. the prices) they would like to charge residents and businesses for refuse (landfill waste, recycling, and compost) collection.

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Rate Changes Reviewed by Controller’s Office


March 2023

The Refuse Rates Administrator (The Controller’s Office) carefully reviews the requests submitted by Recology and holds workshops for the public to receive information about the rate-setting process. Recology’s most recent rate change requests can be viewed here. Members of the public have until July 15, 2023 to submit their written comments or objections to the 2023 refuse rates requested by Recology. 

A recording of the March 16, 2023 public refuse rates workshop with presentations from the Refuse Rates Administrator, Department of Environment, Department of Public Works, and Recology can be viewed here.

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Controller’s Office Recommends Their Own Rates


May–June 2023

After the Controller’s Office reviews the request from Recology, they publish their own recommendations for rate changes that will then be heard by the Refuse Rate Board. The Refuse Rate Board is made up of the City Administrator, the General Manager of the Public Utilities Commission, and an appointed rate payer representative.

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Refuse Rate Board Hearings


March–July 2023

These hearings are to share information about the rate-setting process, for the Department of Public Works and Department of the Environment to share program priorities and goals, and for Recology to share initial rate change requests. Beginning in March, members of the public can participate by commenting at these hearings or by sending a written comment to the Controller’s Office (Refuse Rates Administrator).

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New Refuse Rate Adopted


July - August 2023

From early June, 2023, the public will have at least 45 days to file a formal state-level (Prop 218) protest of the recommended rates put forward by the Controller’s Office (Refuse Rates Administrator) and will also be able to provide feedback to the Refuse Rate Board. At the July 24th meeting of the Refuse Rate Board, all protests will be counted. The Board may hold a final vote to adopt new refuse rates at that meeting, or at the next meeting on August 31st as needed.

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New Refuse Rate Implemented


October 2023

The new rate order will go into effect on October 1, 2023. Most residents will see an increase of less than $2 in total over two years.

Ratepayers will notice rate increases on January 1, 2024 (an increase of 1.33%) and October 1, 2024 (2.55%).

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Last updated October 13, 2023