San Francisco Department of the Environment

Zero Waste Grant - RFP 2021

Request for Proposals 0000004925 for Zero Waste Projects and Youth Education Program

Grant solicitation issue date: March 5, 2021
Pre- Proposal Conference: March 17, 2021 2:00 p.m. on Microsoft Teams meeting:

Proposals due: April 16, 2021 5:00 p.m.

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 in order to be awarded funding. Please review these before submitting your proposal.

 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 Zero Waste solutions that advance climate protection and enhance quality of life for all San Franciscans (Proposal).

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, 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. SF Environment will award:

  • Approximately $1,040,000 over fiscal years 2021-2023 (approximately $520,000/year) for projects that support the City’s Zero Waste and Climate goals. Year two funding is contingent on the SF Board of Supervisors’ approval of the City’s annual budget.
  • Up to $20,000 ($10,000/year) to 1 (one) project provide hands-on, outdoor, Youth Education Program focused on environmental justice and Zero Waste.

Zero Waste Program Background:
For more than 20 years, San Francisco Department of the 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, 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 (Resolution 679-02) by passing the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, requiring 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 the following goals: 
• Reduce municipal solid waste generation by 15% by 2030 (reducing what goes to recycling, composting, and trash).
• Reduce disposal to landfill and incineration 50% by 2030 (in San Francisco this means reducing what goes in the black trash bins).

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

Youth Education Program Background:
Since 1999, the Department’s Youth Education Program has provided environmental education to K-12 public and private schools throughout the City. In addition to classroom presentations and curriculum, the program provides access to nature and pathways to environmental careers through experiential activities such as outdoor and nature-based education, field trips, and internships. The Department is seeking an organization to provide year-round youth workforce development opportunities that support the Department’s Zero Waste work and focus on climate action through an environmental justice lens. Proposed programs must take into account on-going COVID-19 related safety requirements.

For the full RFP, download the Request for Proposal (PDF)

city seal png