How To Get There > Zero Waste goals & plans > San Francisco, California, USA

San Francisco, California, USA

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is a global leader in Zero Waste with a number of model programs and policies. The city has an official goal of Zero Waste by 2020 and reached 77% diversion in 2008.

Action(s) Taken

  • Zero Waste goals & plans



Year Enacted


Overview of San Francisco's Zero Waste Goal

San Francisco has an official goal of Zero Waste by 2020. This city set an interim goal of 75% landfill diversion by 2010 and surpassed this goal in 2008 with 77% diversion.

There are many programs that make Zero Waste in San Francisco successful. It was the first city in the US to require all residents and businesses to recycle and compost. Citizens use a three-bin sorting system for recycling, compost and trash, known as the “Fantastic Three.” Tiered trash rates for both residents and businesses to encourage recycling and waste reduction.

San Francisco has a facility to sort and recover materials from mixed construction and demolition (C&D) debris. There are regulations on recycling C&D materials.

Furthering the city’s reduction in waste is a ban on polystyrene foam food containers in favor of recyclable or compostable alternatives, and a ban on plastic bags from checkout at retail stores. Extensive multi-lingual outreach and education programs ensure that all residents are included in waste-reduction efforts.

The city government leads by example, achieving 85% diversion across its departments with strong waste reduction and environmental purchasing programs. These include a ban on bottled water and mandatory food scrap composting.

San Francisco has a unique public-private partnership with its sole recycling and trash hauler, Recology, that helps to drive innovation and waste reduction. Strong statewide support for resource recovery and product stewardship programs for hard-to-recycle materials rounds out the city’s success.

Learn more about the Zero Waste Resolution in San Francisco, CA

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