Refuse to Primary Landfill

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Target: Zero waste by 2020

Result: 1,563 tons (workday average)


This is a measure of the average workday tons of material sent to the city’s primary landfill each month. It is one of the best ways to determine progress towards San Francisco’s goal of zero waste. Progress towards zero waste—reduce, reuse, recycle and compost—conserves resources, combats climate change and creates jobs.


How San Francisco is Performing

The average workday tons of refuse sent to the primary landfill have increased slightly since 2013. To reverse this trend, the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment) conducts extensive outreach to educate city businesses, government employees, residents, and visitors on zero waste goals. SF Environment uses a wide variety of methods including face-to-face resident education, easy-to-understand signage, technical assistance for businesses, refuse audit information provision to generators, and online and traditional media marketing. SF Environment also registers construction and demolition debris transporters and requires that material be sent to registered recovery facilities.

Overall, tons of refuse sent to landfills have decreased dramatically since 2000, with 2012 being the lowest year on record. The decrease in landfill tons can be attributed to programs, policies, education, enforcement, incentives, and partnerships. San Francisco was the first city in the country to adopt a simple-to-use, three-bin refuse collection program—recyclables, compostables, and trash—for all residents and businesses. San Francisco adopted and actively encourages compliance with policies such as the Zero Waste Resolution, Construction and Demolition Debris Recovery Ordinance, Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinances, and Food Service Waste Reduction Ordinance. San Francisco provides financial incentives to haulers and generators to minimize waste and encourage recycling and composting.

How Performance is Measured

Recology reports to SF Environment monthly on tons of refuse sent to the primary landfill.

The number displayed on the scorecard page represents a fiscal year average of the raw daily values, and therefore may differ slightly than average of the monthly averages in the chart above.

Additional Information

Learn more about SF Environment's Zero Waste Initiative.


Please visit DataSF for the scorecard data.