Recycling & Waste Reduction



Frequently Asked Recycling Questions

Recycle Question

Recycling Questions

Can I recycle plastic bags in the blue recycling cart?
No, Plastic bags are not accepted in the blue recycling bin; they jam the recycling sorting machinery. We encourage you to reuse them. After that, the plastic bags can go into the garbage, or you can take them to some grocery stores for recycling. Safeway, Whole Foods, Andronico’s and Trader Joe accept plastic bags for recycling.

Does the material I put in the Blue container really get recycled?
Yes, the paper, glass, metal, bottles, rigid plastics can all be toss in the blue recycling bins, which are separated by hand and by machine and sold to companies that make them into new products. Materials placed in the garbage, even if it contains recyclable materials, are not sorted, and go directly to landfill.

Do recyclables have to be rinse before placing them in the recycle bin?
No, it’s not necessary to rinse out the recyclables, but please dump out all food into your compost bin and pour non-oily liquids down the drain before putting items into the blue recycle bin. Doing so helps reduce smells and pest problems.

What do the numbers on the bottom of the container mean?
There are several types of consumer plastics or resin.  The number you see on the bottom of the plastic container is an identification code for what type of plastic the product is made of, NOT a recyclability code.  The code is used to sort the different plastics since each has different qualities that need to be considered when utilizing it for new products. 

Can all glass be recycled?
NO.  Some glass is made to withstand high temperatures and is NOT recyclable.  We are not able to accept glass vases, glass drinking cups, window glass, Pyrex, or test tubes.  We accept beverage bottles, food bottles, and jars.

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Compost Questions

What are some other convenient ways to collect kitchen food scraps at home?
You can use paper bags, newspaper, and milk cartons to line your kitchen compost pail. Some people choose to freeze their compostable materials until they’re ready to take them to the green cart. Please do NOT put plastic bags in the green or blue bin.

Won’t the green cart attract rodents and bugs?
If you don’t have pest problems with your garbage you shouldn’t’t have pest problems with your green bin. However, to minimize pest problems such as fruit flies UCSF lines the bins with compostable bags to collect food scraps. Also, compost containers are serviced nightly. The custodian periodically washes the cabinets that hold the plastic bins.

What happens to the compost?
San Francisco sends more than 300 tons per day of food scraps and yard trimmings to facilities in the Central Valley where they are made into rich compost. The process takes around 60 - 90 days. SF compost is in high demand by local farms and vineyards, who use it to amend their soil.

Does pet waste go in the compost bin?
NO. All animal waste goes into the black trash bins.

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Garbage Questions

What do I do with soy milk containers?
Soy milk and other “aseptic” containers that don’t need refrigeration prior to opening and are lined with multiple layers of different materials and must be placed in the garbage

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