San Francisco Department of the Environment

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How to Recycle and Compost

Put items in the right bin with these recycling and composting guidelines. 

Recycle  /  Compost  /  Safely Dispose  /  Landfill  /  Give Away


Recycle plastic, metal, glass, and paper. Empty containers prior to recycling. 

  • Plastic: rigid and hard plastics only (empty buckets, cups, yogurt containers)

  • Metal: cans, tins, party trays, aluminum foil

  • Glass: bottles, jars (no bakeware, glassware, or dishware)

  • Paper: junk mail, cardboard, newspaper, magazines. Put shredded paper in a paper bag, staple it closed, and label it "shredded paper"



Compostable items include food, food-soiled paper, and anything that was once alive. 

  • Food: all food scraps, trimmings and spoiled leftovers

  • Plant trimmings: leaves, flowers, and weeds

  • Soiled paper products: used paper napkins and towels, plates, coffee cups, coated paper cartons (milk and juice), and paper to-go containers

Safely dispose graphic of

Safely Dispose

Search on ​RecycleWhere to find out how to dispose of just about anything.

Visit Recology for a list of additional items of what goes in which bin: Residential, Business.


Some materials are difficult to recycle or compost and for now, must be landfilled. 

  • Mylar film: chip bags, candy wrappers and other mylar film

  • Aseptic containers: multi-material packaging such as broth and juice boxes (Tetra-paks)

  • Special glass: glass dishware, bakeware and auto glass

  • Ceramics 

Give Away

Donate unwanted items: clothing, appliances, furniture

Bulky Items: couches, TVs, monitors

Search on RecycleWhere for alternatives to landfilling items:


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