San Francisco Achieves 67 Percent Recycling, Lowest Disposal in Over Twenty Years

(June 2, 2005)

Mayor pushes towards 75 percent goal with ordinance for mandatory construction and demolition recycling

San Francisco – The "city that knows how" chalked up another banner year for recycling, with Mayor Gavin Newsom announcing today that the city diverted 67 percent of all waste stream materials from going to the landfill, up from 63 percent last year. In order to make sure this trend continues, Mayor Newsom also announced that he that will introduce new legislation making recycling mandatory at construction and demolition sites citywide.

The figures, compiled by the City's Environment Department (SF Environment) this year, and approved by the California Integrated Waste Management Board, show that San Francisco generated 1,794,462 tons of waste material. Of this 625,293 tons went to landfill while 1,169,169 tons were diverted through recycling, composting, reuse, and other efforts. This is the lowest amount of material San Francisco has sent to the landfill since 1982.

"In San Francisco recycling is a way of life, and we should be proud of what we've accomplished," said Mayor Gavin Newsom. "However," the Mayor emphasized, "if we are going to maintain these numbers and make our goal of 75 percent by 2010, we'll need to support mandatory recycling efforts. Since almost all building materials can be recycled, it makes sense to start with the building sector."

To this end, Mayor Newsom and Supervisor Fiona Ma are introducing an ordinance to maximize the recovery of debris from construction and remodeling projects. These materials include wood, metal, sheetrock, concrete, asphalt, bricks, cardboard, piping and other building materials. The ordinance will establish a registry of debris haulers, as well as require building and demolition contractors to send debris to a recycling facility that recovers at least 65 percent of materials from construction and remodeling projects.

SF Recycling & Disposal operates a state-of-the-art sorting facility for construction and demolition debris. Every day the facility sorts more than 250 tons of wood, metal, sheetrock, cardboard and other construction debris, saving up to 70 percent from the landfill. Old concrete can be remanufactured into new concrete or used for roadbeds here in San Francisco. Wood and metal can also be reused, or recycled into a range of new products.

San Francisco's "Fantastic Three" three-cart recycling program has been rolled out citywide, and now accepts plastic tubs and lids of plastic types 2, 4, and 5, in addition to all types of bottles, glass or plastic. Since 1999, the percent of all materials recovered has increased; doubled, in the case of organic materials.


Press Contacts:

Mark Westlund (415) 355-3714

Robert Reed (415) 875-1205


Department of the Environment

City and County of San Francisco

11 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone: (415) 355-3700 | Fax: (415) 554-6393

Email: |