Construction and demolition debris removed from a project in San Francisco must be recycled or reused.
San Francisco Ordinance No. 144-21 and Public Works Code Section 725 add new construction and demolition (C&D) debris recovery requirements for C&D transporters, processing facilities, and projects. Under the ordinance, C&D debris material removed from a project in San Francisco must be recycled or reused. No C&D debris can be transported to or disposed of in a landfill or incinerator or put in a designated trash bin.
C&D debris transport and permit requirements
Mixed C&D debris
- Can only be transported off-site by a transporter that has obtained a permit, issued by the Environment Department, for each debris box or vehicle used to transport it
- Must be transported to a city registered C&D facility (Registered Facility) that processes all mixed C&D loads for recycling
Separated C&D debris by material type (source-separated)
- Must be taken to a facility or end use that reuses or recycles C&D materials
- Companies hauling only source-separated material directly for reuse or recycling are exempt from the transporter C&D permit requirements
Penalties for noncompliance
Any person or company found in noncompliance with the ordinance may incur substantial civil and/or criminal penalties, including fines up to $1,000 per day and suspension of their permit or registration.
San Francisco Environment Department Regulation #SFE-23-01-CDO was adopted on February 15th, 2023. These regulations explain how the requirements found in the Construction and Demolition Debris Recovery Ordinance (No. 144-21) will be enforced as they apply to generators and transporters of C&D debris.
More information regarding notices of violation (NOVs) and warnings can be found on this page: Construction & Demolition (C&D) Enforcement Page
How to comply
Effective January 1, 2022, any person or company that transports mixed C&D debris originating from San Francisco jobsites must obtain a permit from the Environment Department for each debris box or each vehicle used to transport mixed C&D debris under a new tiered permit and fee system. The permit requirements replace the previous registered transporter requirements including debris box permits issued by San Francisco Public Works.
Process for obtaining a mixed C&D debris transporter permit
- Submit a C&D debris permit application to the Environment Department. *Include a copy of the DMV registration cards for any vehicles that require a permit.
- Pay the permit fee online or by mail once San Francisco Public Works (SFPW) emails you an invoice.
- Permit decals will be mailed to the mailing address that you provide in the permit application, or the decals can be picked up in-person at SFPW's office at 49 South Van Ness Ave.
Permit types and fees
- There is an annual permit or a temporary 7-day permit for debris boxes and vehicles
- Review the permit fee schedule for detailed pricing
Debris box permit requirements
- Each debris box must display a valid permit while transporting mixed C&D debris, regardless of location (e.g. city streets or private property)
- C&D debris box permits can be transferred among debris boxes operated by the same transporter company but cannot be transferred between or among transporters
- A street space permit from San Francisco Public Works is required when placing a debris box in the public right of way
Vehicle permit requirements
- Each vehicle or vehicle towing a trailer that is used to transport mixed C&D debris must have a valid permit
- Vehicle permits are available in four tiers based on the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Gross Vehicle Weight Code of the vehicle used to transport mixed C&D debris
- Permits are not transferable between or among transporters or between or among vehicles owned by the same transporter
- Transporters are not required to obtain a permit for vehicles (i.e. “roll-off trucks”) that will transport mixed C&D debris exclusively in debris boxes that have valid permits
Exemptions to the transporter permit requirements
The following transporters do not need to obtain a C&D permit but must still comply with all other C&D debris recovery requirements:
- Companies hauling only source-separated material directly for reuse or recycling market
- Property owners removing mixed C&D debris from their property with their own vehicles
- Those that transport less than one cubic yard of mixed C&D debris
Effective January 1, 2022, processing facilities registered with the Environment Department that accept mixed C&D debris generated in San Francisco (“Registered Facilities”) must use certified scales integrated with an automated record-keeping system to weigh each incoming load of mixed C&D debris and all outgoing materials.
Exemptions to the certified scales requirement
Facilities who were registered as of October 24, 2021, are exempted from the certified scale requirement if, since that date:
- The facility has not received any record-keeping violations from the San Francisco Department of Public Health; and
- The Environment Department has not documented any record-keeping deficiencies that prevent the facility from meeting reporting requirements
Registered Facilities can accept mixed C&D debris generated in San Francisco only from transporters that have a valid vehicle or debris box permit.
If a Registered Facility determines a transporter does not have a valid C&D vehicle or debris box permit, the facility may accept mixed C&D debris from that transporter for up to 30 days provided that the facility informs the transporter of the permit requirement and notifies the Environment Department of the unpermitted transporter within 10 days each time the transporter arrives without a valid permit.
Reporting noncompliant transporters
To report a noncompliant transporter, contact the Environment Department at DebrisRecovery@sfgov.org or call 415-355-3799 and provide the transporter company name and/or license plate.
3rd Party Verification
All registered facilities must partake in 3rd party verification to confirm the facility’s recovery rates and to ensure facilities are sorting all recoverable material entering their facility. 3rd party verification must be completed annually, and facilities are responsible for the cost of their verification.
Verification must be completed by an organization approved by San Francisco Environment. If you are a processing facility that would like to become a registered facility for the City and County of San Francisco or you are a company looking to become an approved 3rd Party verifier please contact DebrisRecovery@sfgov.org for more details.
Approved 3rd Party Verifiers:
Recycling Certification Institute (RCI)
Address: PO BOX 160166 Sacramento, CA 95816
R3 Consulting Group, Inc.
Address: 1512 Eureka Road, Suite 220, Roseville, CA 95661
Email: Contact via website
Edgar and Associates
Address: 1822 21st Street, Sacramento, CA, 95811
Tel: (916) 739-1200 ext. 104
Certain construction projects are required to recycle or reuse a minimum of 65% of the discarded materials generated by a project. If the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) determines that a permit is subject to this C&D debris recovery requirement, the project must demonstrate compliance by submitting a Material Reduction and Recovery Plan (MRRP) to SFE for review and approval. MRRPs and weight tickets are submitted through the city's online debris tracking system, Green Halo.
Note: DBI form 6 full building demolition projects are required to recycle or reuse a minimum of 75% of the discarded materials generated by the project.
- Green Halo MRRP Submission Instructions (PDF) - (English | 中文 | Español)
- DBI Information Sheet GB-02, which provides more information on how DBI determines which permits require a MRRP
Questions or concerns?
For additional information or questions, email DebrisRecovery@sfgov.org or call (415) 355-3799.