San Francisco, CA, August 28, 2018 —Mayor London N. Breed today committed San Francisco to a new zero waste pledge and challenged other cities and mayors around the world to do the same. The pledge is being announced as part of the “Sustainable Communities” policy platform of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), being held in San Francisco on September 12-14, 2018.

The bold new initiative was jointly developed by San Francisco, C40, and other C40 cities in the Waste to Resources network. It challenges cities, states and regions to reduce solid waste generation and decrease what they dispose to landfill or incineration. To date, the mayors of Paris, Milan, New York, London and more than 23 other cities have joined San Francisco in this commitment. 

“San Francisco has been a global leader in sustainability by making recycling and composting standard throughout our city, enacting efforts to keep unwanted pharmaceuticals out of the Bay and landfills, and enacting the toughest Styrofoam ban in the country. Today, we are going even further by setting aggressive goals to reduce the waste we generate and cut our landfill disposal in half once again by 2030,” said Mayor London Breed. “We all need to act together, which is why I am calling on cities around the world to join us in taking this ambitious challenge to save our planet for generations to come.”

When accepting San Francisco’s challenge, cities pledge to:

  • Reduce municipal solid waste generation by 15% by 2030 (reducing what goes to recycling, composting, and trash).
  • Reduce disposal to landfill and incineration 50% by 2030 (in San Francisco this means reducing what goes in the black trash bins).

The full C40 Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration can be read here.

Global waste generation is increasing faster than any other environmental contributor. The International Solid Waste Association estimates that increased recycling and composting efforts could cut 10-15% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. If reductions in waste generation are made, the sector could decrease global emissions by 20%.

San Francisco recovers more material than perhaps any other city in the United States due in part to compulsory recycling and composting. With this new pledge, San Francisco will continue to maximize recovery efforts while targeting generation and disposal reduction in key areas, such as construction and demolition debris and food waste at large institutions.

“San Francisco has always been and will continue to be an environmental world leader,” said Debbie Raphael, Director of San Francisco’s Department of the Environment. “We have demonstrated what’s possible when you bring residents, businesses, policymakers, and government together behind a collective goal. This new commitment builds on San Francisco’s original goals, sets new bold targets, and invites cities on a global scale to join us in proactive efforts to educate and motivate residents and businesses to achieve zero waste together.”

In 2003, San Francisco set a goal of achieving zero waste and has since cut its landfill disposal in half. These efforts have made San Francisco a national leader and have resulted in a material recovery rate almost two and a half times the national average. This new global commitment will help the City set new waste reduction targets to effectively track the City’s progress into 2030.

In announcing the zero waste declaration, Mayor Breed makes San Francisco’s commitment effective immediately. Progress will continue to be measured over the course of the next 10 years or more. For more information, please visit


The San Francisco Department of the Environment provides solutions that advance climate protection and enhance the quality of life for all San Franciscans. The Department’s award winning, internationally recognized zero waste program provides education and outreach to residents and businesses about San Francisco’s zero waste policies and programs.


The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group connects more than 90 of the world’s greatest cities, representing over 650 million people and one quarter of the global economy.

Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens. For more information, visit


The Global Climate Action Summit will bring leaders and people together from around the world to “Take Ambition to the Next Level.” It will be a moment to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of states, regions, cities, investors, companies and citizens with respect to climate action.

It will also be a launchpad for deeper worldwide commitments and accelerated action from countries–supported by all sectors of society–that can put the globe on track to prevent dangerous climate change and realize the historic Paris agreement. For more information, visit