San Francisco Department of the Environment

Construction and Demolition Debris Recovery Law

Effective January 1, 2022

Requirements overview

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 Department of the Environment, 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.

How to comply

Transporters

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 Department of the Environment 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. 

Obtaining a mixed C&D debris transporter permit

  • Transporters must submit a C&D debris permit application for their debris box(es) and/or vehicle(s) to the Department of the Environment and pay the permit fee online or by mail once approved
  • Permit decals will be mailed to the Transporter or picked up in-person 

Permits 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

Registered Facilities 

Effective January 1, 2022, processing facilities registered with the Department of the Environment 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 Department of the Environment has not documented any record-keeping deficiencies that prevent the facility from meeting reporting requirements

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 Department of the Environment 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 Department of the Environment at [email protected] or call 415-355-3799 and provide the transporter company name and/or license plate. 

Construction or demolition projects 

Effective January 1, 2022, full demolition projects are required to submit a Material Reduction and Recovery Plan (MRRP), and corresponding weight tickets and/or receipts, to the Department of the Environment.

Impacted projects must demonstrate successful recovery of at least 75% of C&D debris generated by that project (“Recovery Rate”). 

Questions or concerns?  

For additional information or questions, email [email protected] or call (415) 355-3799.

Resources

Read the policy (Ordinance No. 144-21) (PDF)

Public Works Code 725

Permit Fee Schedule (PDF)

C&D Debris Permit Application – English (PDF) 

C&D Debris Permit Application – Chinese (PDF)

C&D Debris Permit Application – Spanish (PDF)

San Francisco Public Works Street Space Permit

List of Registered Facilities (PDF)

Submitting a Material Reduction and Recovery Plan (MRRP) (PDF)

Fact Sheet – English (PDF)

Fact Sheet – Chinese (PDF)

Fact Sheet – Spanish (PDF)

Letter sent to transporters (Trilingual - English, Spanish, Chinese) (PDF)

Letter sent to processing facilities (Trilingual - English, Spanish, Chinese) (PDF)


Related Content

Construction & Demolition (C & D) Resources

city seal png