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Recycling Programs

A Division of the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department

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NEW Zero Waste Plan

The City of San Diego’s Zero Waste Plan was approved and adopted unanimously by City Council on July 13, 2015. The Zero Waste Plan lays out strategies to divert 75% of all trash by 2020, 90% diversion by 2035 and an ultimate goal of zero waste by 2040.

Zero Waste Plan (Organics) Workshops

The City of San Diego’s Environmental Services Department (ESD) is conducting workshops in October 2015 to educate and assist business to comply with the implementation of the upcoming Assembly Bill (AB) 1826. Workshops will present the current and upcoming State and local waste diversion regulations, the City’s implementation plan for the upcoming commercial organic waste diversion mandate, and provide information on how to comply with the mandates, and available resources.

'Bring Your Own Bag San Diego' Kicks Off the New Year

Visit the BYOB SD Website for more information.

New! Dare to Reuse 2015 Paperless Calendar

Instructions for Using Fillable Paperless Recycling Calendar:

Download the calendar and save to your desktop. Type appointments or other information into the individual days, or notes forms.

*Do not close if using Acrobat Reader or changes will be lost, just minimize the screen or print by month as you update. If using Acrobat Professional, changes can be saved upon closing.

Mandatory Recycling Requirements Took Effect July 1, 2012

Starting July 1, 2012, California State Law requires apartment and condo complexes with five or more units to recycle.

The City Recycling Ordinance also requires recycling at:

  • all single-family homes;
  • all apartments and condominiums services by the City; and;
  • all privately serviced businesses, commercial/institutional facilities, apartments, and condominiums generating four or more cubic yards of trash per week.

View the New Mandatory Recycling Requirements

Report Properties without Recycling

It is the policy of the Code Enforcement Division to request the source of the complaint. It is also the department's policy to keep the source of the complaint confidential.

There is a potential, however, that the department may be ordered to reveal this information in a judicial proceeding.

The department will not accept complaints from anonymous sources.

(*Indicates required field)

Waste Characterization Study

A waste characterization (or waste composition) study is a scientific tool used by jurisdictions to assess the amount and types of waste being disposed in landfills for the purposes of evaluating and expanding recycling and diversion programs. The Environmental Services Department (ESD) is responsible for implementing the City's waste reduction, recycling, and diversion programs. The passing of Assembly Bill (AB) 939 (1989) required all jurisdictions in California to divert 50% of their waste by the year 2000.

San Diego's last full waste characterization study was conducted in 1999.

San Diego reached a 52% diversion rate in 2004 and has steadily increased diversion to 68% in 2012. This added diversion is predominately due to two City-wide recycling ordinances.

The City Recycling Ordinance (CRO) requires all commercial properties and multi-family residences to recycle unless they fall below a specified service level thereby making them exempt.

The Construction and Demolition (C&D) Debris Deposit Ordinance requires certain permitted demolition, new construction and remodeling projects to divert 50% of the waste produced during the project. Additionally, there is a surcharge on all C&D loads disposed at Miramar Landfill.

The results and links below are from the recently completed (2012-2013) waste characterization study. The City conducted this study to evaluate the types and amounts of waste still being disposed and will use this data to enhance and develop recycling program activities and policies.

The most recent disposal data available is from 2012, and shows that San Diego disposed of nearly 1.3 million tons of waste. This included waste from our homes, business, schools, manufacturing, and military bases.

We hope that you find this information helpful and if you have any questions, please contact ESD at 858-694-7000.

Compost Bin Voucher Program

The City of San Diego has partnered with Dixieline ProBuild to offer compost bins at a discounted rate for City of San Diego residents!

For more information, visit our Backyard Composting page.

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Links and Resources


If you have questions, contact Environmental Services at 858-694-7000, or email