San Francisco Environment Department

Civic Design, Digital Innovation, and the San Francisco Department of the Environment

San Francisco Department of the Environment's outreach team works to improve access to information and city services related to the environment. Here are some sample community engagement and web outreach projects we've done with our partners. 

Zero Waste / Climate & Energy / Biodiversity / Language Access

Zero Waste Tools

Zero Waste Signmaker: Shareable Code

San Francisco created the Zero Waste Signmaker so that residents and businesses can customize their own recycling, composting, and landfill signs. The San Francisco Department of the Environment has shared the tool with several other jurisdictions who have customized it for their city or county: Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; Alameda County; St. Paul, Minnesota. Learn more about the Zero Waste Signmaker.

SF Recycles is a multilingual web application which was built to serve as a guide to changes to San Francisco's recycling system. The application won first place in the Users First! category of this year's annual Data and Innovation Awards. The country of Belarus adopted the concept for the tool.


Whether you’re working or living in San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Jose, Contra Costa, or Alameda, RecycleWhere provides convenient recycling, reuse, and disposal options for plastics, batteries, fluorescent lights, televisions, couches, and more! RecycleWhere is a collaboration among local governmental agencies to reduce waste. The project uses open source software and an open data model to provide localized and accurate results.

Global Challenge on Food Waste

The San Francisco Department of the Environment worked with OpenIdeo on a global community challenge to address food waste. How might we dramatically reduce waste by transforming our relationship with food? Learn more about other ways to prevent food waste.

Virtual Warehouse

All surplus city-owned property must be submitted to the Virtual Warehouse, the City's online materials reuse system.

Climate & Energy Tools

Dashboards and Visualizations
Interactive greenhouse gas emissions dashboard showing GHG emissions by sector. 
Existing Buildings Ordinance Performance Report

Campaigns and Reports
Greening the City with Better Lighting (DataSF)
San Francisco Kicks Off Earth Month with the World's Largest LED Light Bulb Giveaway
Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance Report

Biodiversity Tools

SF Plantfinder (collaboration with SF Planning Department) 

In-Language Experiences (Español, 中文, Filipino)

photo of Mural on 24th Street

In April 2017, the San Francisco Department of the Environment launched language experiences in SpanishChinese, and Filipino. After a nine month discovery, design, and development process, the department launched a new mobile-friendly design with content in four languages, segmented content (for Residents and Businesses), and an agile approach that allows for the sites to evolve based on the needs of the diversity of users in San Francisco. San Francisco Department of the Environment won the Mayor's inaugural Data and Innovation Award ("Users First! category) for the website redesign. Highlights from the language experiences include:

Related Content

Data Shakers and Innovators Return (DataSF)
Data Shakers and Innovators (DataSF)
Data published by the San Francisco Department of the Environment (DataSF)
Designing a Smarter, More Sustainable San Francisco (November 2012)


Contact Us for more information about innovation and labs at SF Environment.

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