Compostable Bags and Food Service Ware

Compostable bags and food service ware accepted in San Francisco’s compost program must be certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute as "compostable", also referred to as "BPI Certified". Bags and food service ware labeled “green”, “environmentally friendly”, “biodegradable”, “degradable”, “will decompose”, “photodegradable”, “made from corn starch”, or other unsubstantiated claims are not accepted. Jepson Prairie Organics, San Francisco's organics processing facility, can only process acceptable items.

Commercial Business Products and Resources

In compliance with San Francisco's Food Service Waste Reduction Ordinance, restaurants and other food service businesses must use compostable or recyclable food service containers and utensils. Food and drinks cannot be sold in styrofoam containers. 

Resources:

Tips for Commercial Businesses:

  • Beware of product labelling: Accepted compostable products (bags, utensils, containers) must be labeled "compostable"; all mis-labeled products are considered landfill trash
  • Businesses may use a plastic liner to collect compostable materials, but must empty the contents directly into their compost collection bin without the plastic liner.
  • Businesses should check with their janitorial service provider or vendors to see if they have wholesale pricing for BPI Certified compostable bags. 

Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance

Effective October 1, 2012, San Francisco's Extended Bag Reduction Ordinance, requries that all retailers in San Francisco charge a minimum of 10 cents for each bag provided at checkout. Retailers must provide certified compostable, post-consumer recycled, or reusable bags at a charge. Shoppers can avoid this charge by bringing their own bag.