San Francisco Environment Department

Toxics Reduction & Community Zero Waste Grants 2022

Request for Proposals 0000006155 for Toxics Reduction and Community Zero Waste Grants

Grant solicitation issue date: Friday, November 5, 2021
Pre- Proposal Conference: Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 9:00 a.m. PST on Microsoft Teams meeting:

Proposals due: Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 5:00 p.m. PST

Request for Proposal (PDF)


While it is not required that you submit the Certificate of Insurance with your application, the City and County of San Francisco has strict Certificate of Insurance requirements to be awarded funding. Please review these before submitting your proposal to ensure you can comply. 

This Request for Proposals is being issued by San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment). SF Environment is seeking multiple qualified community-based organizations (Proposers) to provide proposals for Community Zero Waste projects in San Francisco’s District 5 and Toxics Reduction projects in any San Francisco community (Proposal).

The San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment)
The mission of SF Environment is to provide solutions that advance climate protection and enhance quality of life for all San Franciscans. Our environmental vision is expressed simply as “0-80-100 Roots”— San Francisco must achieve zero (0) waste, zero (0) toxics, take at least 80% of our trips sustainably, and use 100% renewable energy, while reducing consumption. While those goals are about being less harmful to the planet, our “Roots” goal is about healing the planet by protecting nature’s diversity, planting trees and promoting soil health to absorb carbon and restore natural systems.

SF Environment strives to ensure we are meeting the needs of all San Franciscans and providing in-depth programs to neighborhoods throughout the city. We will:

  • Promote Healthy Communities and Ecosystems
  • Achieve a Carbon-Free Future
  • Strengthen Community Resilience
  • Eliminate Waste
  • Amplify Community Action

In keeping with our values, SF Environment is releasing grant funds for community-based organizations engaged in activities that will help the city achieve its environmental goals. Our Zero Waste and Toxics Reduction and Healthy Ecosystems programs work together to reduce toxics and waste going into San Francisco’s waste stream through a range of programs such as recycling of products like batteries and compact fluorescent light bulbs.  SF Environment will award:

  • A total of $65,000 for one or more one-year projects that directly reduce San Franciscans’ exposure to toxic chemicals and/or demonstrate safer alternatives to toxic products for use in San Francisco.  Each grant awarded in this category shall have an initial term of one year, with one option to renew for up to one additional year, which the City may exercise in its sole discretion.  If the City elects to exercise its option to extend the grant term, the period by which the grant term is extended will be funded at a rate proportional to the original grant amount. 
  • A total of $100,000 over two years for one project that supports Community Zero Waste projects in District 5's Western Addition neighborhood.  Each grant awarded in this category shall have an initial term of two years, with one option to renew for up to one additional year, which the City may exercise in its sole discretion.  If the City elects to exercise its option to extend the grant term, the period by which the grant term is extended will be funded at a rate proportional to the original grant amount. 

Toxics Reduction Program Background:
As the first city in the United States to adopt the Precautionary Principle, San Francisco strives to protect the health of its residents, visitors, and the local environment. SF Environment’s Toxics Reduction and Healthy Ecosystems team develops programs and policies to help individuals and businesses make safer choices in products, practices, and services. Grants will support external partners and grassroots efforts that help SF Environment meets its goals. To help meet its equity and inclusion goals, SF Environment will prioritize funding projects that focus on underserved San Francisco communities that have been disproportionately affected by toxics in the environment.

Proposed Toxics Reduction projects must:
Demonstrate toxics reduction, deployment of safer alternative products, and/or public education regarding pollution prevention and reduction of exposures to toxic chemicals. Proposals should address one or more of the following:

  • Toxics reduction strategies targeting problematic and emerging materials in products
  • Long-term sustainability of the project and ability to leverage additional funds, where appropriate. This includes education, training programs, outreach tools, digital communication, and technical assistance (including market development)
  • Easily reproduced educational materials that permit use by other organizations
  • Innovative pilot projects and new programs that address emerging contaminants issues such as microplastics and Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
  • Focused on most vulnerable populations and underserved communities
  • Reduce human exposure to the highest volume and most toxic chemicals

The following examples are a guide for potential projects. Please note this is not an exhaustive list. We welcome creative ideas to reduce the use of and exposure to toxic chemicals in San Francisco.

  • Removing toxic products and finding safer/cleaner alternatives in senior homes, daycares, and schools
  • Creating a safer home for newborns and babies by reducing their exposure to toxic chemicals found in toys, children’s furniture and other home furnishings, bedding and clothing, and other items such as cleaning products, pesticides and other home care products, etc.
  • Purchasing equipment to reduce reliance on herbicides, such as battery-powered landscaping equipment or wood-chippers to create bark mulch
  • Building structures to improve sanitation in shared spaces or refuse receptacles, thus reducing exposure to rodents and the use of rodent baits
  • Refurbishing modern second-hand computers that provide workforce development opportunities in that benefit seniors and low-income families

Zero Waste Program Background:
For more than 20 years, SF Environment’s internationally recognized Zero Waste program has provided millions of dollars in grants to a diverse range of organizations that have helped the City achieve its recycling, composting, reuse and waste reduction goals. In addition to their environmental impacts, projects have provided youth and underserved communities workforce development opportunities and zero waste educational resources, and have kept valuable resources out landfill, delivering them to those most in need. 

In 2009 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors provided strong legal support for the City’s 2003 Zero Waste goal by passing the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, requiring that all residents, businesses and facilities separate their discards into recyclables, compostables and trash.  More recently, in 2018, Mayor London N. Breed, signed an international zero waste pledge committing San Francisco to achieving the following goals by 2030:

  • Reduce municipal solid waste generation 15% (what goes to recycling, composting, and trash)
  • Reduce disposal to landfill and incineration 50% (reducing what goes in the black trash bins)

The city has a high recovery rate for recycling and composting compared to other US cities of a similar size. However, this still leaves more than 600,000 tons of material being landfilled. Of the remaining material going to landfill more than 30% is organic material (including edible food) and over 20% is recyclable paper, bottles, and cans. Additionally, textiles/apparel, diapers, animal feces and furniture are high contributors to the City’s landfill stream. 

Community Zero Waste Funding:
In support of the City’s Zero Waste goals, District 5 Supervisor, Dean Preston has committed a total of $100,000 to be distributed over two years for projects in District 5’s Western Addition.  Funds will be administered by SF Environment and awarded to community-based organizations engaged in zero waste efforts. Projects should:

  • Have knowledge of specific community needs
  • Include a range of partners and collaborators
  • Educate vendors and residents on zero waste, composting, recycling, and creating healthy ecosystems and help them achieve compliance with the City's Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance
  • Include opportunities for the community to come together and participate in a range of Zero Waste practices and activities, particularly related to composting and urban agriculture
  • Provide a range of co-benefits including job creation/workforce development, youth development, and community resiliency

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