The City of San Diego's Recycling Ordinance (PDF) was unanimously approved by the City Council on November 13, 2007. Phased implementation of the ordinance began January 1, 2008 and was completed over the next two years. All single family residences; City-serviced multi-family residences; and privately serviced businesses, commercial / institutional facilities, apartments, and condominiums and special events requiring a City permit are required to recycle.
The ordinance requires recycling of plastic and glass bottles and jars, paper, newspaper, metal containers and cardboard. City serviced residences, and privately serviced commercial and institutional properties must also recycle rigid plastics including clean food waste containers, jugs, tubs, trays, pots, buckets, and toys. Residents serviced by a private hauler are encouraged to recycle these additional plastic items as well.
Effective July 1, 2012, the exemption threshold for the ordinance has been lowered from six cubic yards per week to four cubic yards per week. Therefore, privately serviced businesses, commercial / institutional facilities, apartments, and condominiums generating four or more cubic yards of trash per week are required to recycle. This change is to comply with State mandated requirements that resulted from Assembly Bill 341, which was passed in 2011. The State's mandatory recycling program also requires multi-family properties with five or more units to recycle. Some privately serviced apartments and condominiums will be exempt from the City Recycling Ordinance, but will be required to recycle per the State's program (See CalRecycle's "Mandatory Commercial Recycling" for more information).