San Francisco is pretty damn progressive when it comes to cutting down on waste, such as (mostly) outlawing plastic grocery bags. The city provides residents with three large, wheeled bins — a black one for trash, a blue one for most recyclables, and a green one for compostables — and keeps us well above the state's 50% recycling law (Assembly Bill 939), clocking in at 67% in 2004!

SF Environment is the city department that's responsible promoting recycling as well as reusing materials and reducing waste. Its website provides many links and a ton of information for green-minded individuals (as you should all be) and can be found here.

Recycling centers

Though most household recyclables can go into the blue cart, some are too potentially hazardous to the environment and should be dropped off at a recycling center. These include batteries, printer cartridges, electronics, and window glass. Below is a list of places in and near San Francisco that will take your various recyclables.

Recycling at home

The following items are fine to toss in your blue cart:

  • Paper and cardboard (But pizza boxes and milk cartons go in the green bin!)
  • Glass (Except for window glass)
  • Plastic bottles #1-7, flattened
  • Plastic tubs and lids #2, 4 and 5
  • Cans (Aluminum, steel and empty spray cans)
  • Aluminum foil

(Remember never to throw plastic grocery bags in the blue bin, even if they're holding recyclables, because they clog sorting equipment!)

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