San Francisco Department of the Environment Comprehensive Commercial Organics Recycling Program

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San Francisco's award-winning organics recycling program is the oldest, largest, and most successful of its kind in the United States. ESA helped to plan the program in the mid-1990s and has continuously provided assistance since then. Most recently, since 2009, we have assisted in the implementation of the City's Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, the most comprehensive legislation of its kind, which requires all businesses and residents to separate waste into recyclable, compostable, and landfill materials.

ESA has worked with San Francisco to provide direct, in-person technical assistance, training, outreach, and monitoring to over 2,000 commercial businesses and institutions, as well as residents and multi-family property managers. From on-site training of managers and staff about program goals and procedures in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Vietnamese to monitoring, analysis, and reporting of program participation, our expertise has helped to continuously improve this successful program.

With our strategic planning and technical assistance, the organics collection component of this program went from being a very limited pilot program to the largest program of its kind. Six hundred tons of food scraps and other compostables are processed each day. Organics diversion in San Francisco is an overwhelming success, with low contamination, good participation, and high customer satisfaction. By providing high quality technical assistance, ESA is helping the City meet its Zero Waste and greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Specialized Services

  • Community outreach programs
  • Compliance audits and tracking
  • Organics diversion
  • Project website; social media management and communication materials development
  • Worker education programs
  • Zero waste strategies and programs