San Francisco, CA – The Department of the Environment today announced $1.37 million in grant funding has been awarded to more than 14 organizations working in zero waste, environmental justice, workforce development, and climate action programs citywide. Administered by the Department of the Environment, the grant program supports community-based organizations that advance the City’s zero waste goals. Over the last 20 years, it has awarded approximately $8 million total.


Every year, the Department of the Environment partners with more than a dozen local organizations that lead on zero waste and educational programs, including composting, recycling, and source reduction. This year, funded projects emphasize equity and inclusion, and COVID-19 recovery efforts, as well as unique youth development projects that focus on climate action through an environmental justice lens.


“Each recipient of this 20-year program has made a remarkable impact in their community while advancing environmental justice,” said Debbie Raphael, Director of the Department of the Environment. “This year we saw people come together to step up and support each other in new and inspiring ways. I’m grateful for this program and am proud to support these efforts, whether it’s in food security, workforce development, equity, and more.”


“Food distribution and recovery programs, like the one at The SF Market, made all the difference for some of San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents,” said Carolyn Lasar, Food Recovery Coordinator at The SF Market. “Through this grant, we’re able to continue feeding more San Franciscans and keep our programs thriving.”


2021-2023 Grantees include:

  • The Asian Pacific American Community Center works with residents of Sunnydale Housing Development and surrounding communities on zero waste activities. Funding will help them create outreach materials and provide incentives for community ambassadors to receive training and perform linguistically and culturally appropriate education and outreach.


  • The Bike Hut Foundation collects, repairs, and rents recycled bikes to the public along San Francisco’s South Beach near Oracle Park, while training youth in bike mechanics and repair.


  • The California Product Stewardship Council is partnering with San Francisco Goodwill to pilot a repair system for damaged garments, identify and train repair partners, and keep textiles from entering the landfill.


  • The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture and its Foodwise Teens program will provide paid work experience and leadership opportunities to empower San Francisco youth and educate them on food systems and zero waste communities.


  • Chinatown’s Charity Cultural Services Center provides paid positions for high school students to learn about zero waste and environmental justice. These trained students will provide intergenerational training to the community on the City’s three-bin refuse recovery system.


  • Farming Hope is a garden-to-table job training program that employs formerly incarcerated and unhoused San Franciscans to recover edible food—primarily produce—and provide healthy meals to those in need.


  • Garden for the Environment integrates composting education into its demonstration site for small-scale urban food production, organic gardening, composting, and low water-use landscaping.


  • Literacy for Environmental Justice’s Eco-Adventure program connects youth from Southeast San Francisco to natural areas in their own community and employs them to provide Zero Waste training to youth, staff, and surrounding community members at Candlestick Point Park.


  • Race to Zero Waste creates “pop-ups” at events around the city to promote zero waste and offer collection points for gently used surplus items, as well as traditional recycling and composting. It expands the impact of pop-ups by including a comprehensive zero waste digital media campaign.


  • San Francisco Community Recyclers operates the “Building Resource Center” to redistribute building materials—including lumber, windows, doors, bricks, cabinetry, lighting, and hardware—at low cost to local contractors, small businesses, and the general community.


  • The SF Market’s Food Recovery Program redistributes excess fresh, healthy produce to nonprofits serving under-resourced San Francisco communities. Recognized by the Commission on the Environment for its environmental championship in 2020, The SF Market continues to play a vital role in supporting our city's critical food infrastructure and COVID-19 recovery efforts.


  • SF New Deal was launched at the beginning of the pandemic to address food needs in San Francisco by working with local restaurants to develop a meal program. It works with Dispatch Goods to transition from serving meals in single-use containers to reusable ones.


  • UCSF’s Sustainability Program aims to dramatically reduce waste by transitioning from disposable surgical gowns and operating room towels to reusable alternatives for foam products and reducing surgical supply waste. This pilot includes a cost and life cycle analysis to inform future purchasing decisions and serve as model for similar institutions.


  • The YMCA of San Francisco will create a Re-Use Center to redistribute materials that might otherwise go into the waste stream, for art and educational projects. The Center will educate the public and engage community members in activities to reduce waste.



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