San Francisco Environment Department

Requirements for Restaurants, Retailers and Events

Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance

San Francisco's Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance requires San Francisco residents and businesses to properly separate recyclables and compostables and keep them out of the landfill. Recycling and composting is one way to help San Francisco achieve its goal of Zero Waste by 2020.

Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance

Extended Bag Reduction Ordinance

Effective October 1, 2012, San Francisco's Extended Bag Reduction Ordinance, requries all retailers in San Francisco charge a minimum of 10 cents for each bag provided at checkout. Retailers must provide certified compostable, post-consumer recycled, or reusable bags at a charge. Shoppers can avoid this charge by bringing their own bag. 

This ordinance will apply to food establishments on October 1, 2013. 

Food Service Waste Reduction Ordinance

In compliance with San Francisco's Food Service Waste Reduction Ordinance, restaurants and other food service businesses must use compostable or recyclable food service containers and utensils. Food and drinks cannot be sold in styrofoam containers. 

Compostable bags and food service ware accepted in San Francisco’s compost program must be certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute as "compostable", also referred to as "BPI Certified". 

Failure to comply with any of these requirements may result in fines. 

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