Residential and Small Business Landfill Diversion

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Target: 59% of residential and small business refuse recovered through recycling and composting

Result: 56.9% of residential and small business refuse
through recycling and composting

Residential and small business landfill diversion represents the percentage of total refuse that is recovered through recycling and composting, and therefore not sent to a landfill. San Francisco’s small generator refuse collection program—known as “The Fantastic 3”—serves residential curbside, apartment and small commercial generators. Over half of what still goes in the landfill bins can be recycled in the blue bin or composted. Recycling and composting are important because they conserve resources, combat climate change, and create jobs.


How San Francisco is Performing

The residential and small business refuse diversion rate increased from below 50 percent in 2008 to just over 60 percent at the end of 2012, when public refuse receptacles were reallocated. Since then, the rate has hovered under 60 percent.

This measure represents 15 percent of all refuse generation in San Francisco. It captures a limited sample of residential curbside, apartment, and small commercial refuse generation. The San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment) is currently working with Recology to bring recycling and composting collection to remaining “challenged” residents and small businesses, including those with physical constraints (space or access) to recycling, composting, and trash bins. SF Environment is also conducting ongoing efforts to encourage diversion by educating residents and employees on how to properly sort and dispose of refuse.

How Performance is Measured

The diversion rate is calculated by taking tons of recycled and composted waste and dividing it by total tons of small generator refuse including landfill. Recology reports to SF Environment monthly tons collected for each refuse stream (compostables, recyclables, landfill) minus “residual” materials. Residual materials are landfilled refuse that come from recycling and composting streams.

The number displayed on the scorecard page represents a fiscal year average of the values in the chart above.

Additional Information

Learn more about SF Environment's Zero Waste Initiative.



Please visit DataSF for the scorecard data.