A Division of the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department (ESD)
- Polystyrene Foam and Single Use Plastics Ordinance
- Zero Waste Plan
- Bring Your Own Bag San Diego (BYOB)
- Compost Bin Voucher Program
- Having a Special Event?
- Links and Resources
- Mandatory Recycling Requirements
- Mattress and Box Spring Recycling
- Report Properties without Recycling
- Waste Characterization Study
- Backyard Compost
- Annual Christmas Tree Recycling Program
- Construction & Demolition Debris
- Electronic Waste
- Propane Cylinders
- Used Oil & Oil Filters
- Yard Waste
- Commercial Food Waste
Polystyrene Foam and Single Use Plastics Ordinance
The City'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 percent of all trash by 2020, 90 percent diversion by 2035 and an ultimate goal of zero waste by 2040.
Zero Waste Plan (Organics)
The City of San Diego's Environmental Services Department educates and assists businesses to comply with the implementation of the State of California Assembly Bill (AB) 1826.
- More information on AB 1826 can be found at the CalRecycle website.
- To determine the feasibility of starting a commercial food waste recycling program, please contact the City of San Diego’s Environmental Services Department at 858-694-7000.
- To learn more about the City’s Commercial Food Waste Recycling Program and other food recovery and donation options, visit the Commercial Food Waste Recycling webpage.
- Some businesses that generate food waste have considered liquefier devices as a means of complying with AB 1826. However, there are strict requirements governing discharge from liquefiers. To learn more, please review the Public Utilities Department’s Food Waste Liquefier Fact Sheet. Information about food waste liquefiers
Bring Your Own Bag San Diego - Single-use Carryout Bags
For information on the State of California bag law, visit the Bring Your Own Bag San Diego web page for more information.
Compost Bin Voucher Program
Having a Special Event?
- Recycling Ordinance for Special Events
- Signage for Special Events Recycling
- Additional Signage for Special Events Recycling Containers - Recycling/Compost/Trash
- Recycling Collection Services for Special Events
- Recycling Ordinance Compliance Video for Special Events (MP4)
Mandatory Recycling Requirements Took Effect July 1, 2012
Since July 1, 2012, California state law requires apartment and condo complexes with five or more units to recycle.
In addition, 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
The California Used Mattress Recovery and Recycling Act aims to reduce illegal dumping, increase recycling, and substantially reduce public agency costs for the end-of-use management of used mattresses and box springs. The legislation established an industry-run, statewide program to increase the recovery and recycling of mattresses and box springs at their end-of-use.
To find a used mattress recycler, renovator, or drop-off location near you, visit: byebyemattress.com
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 is responsible for implementing the City's waste reduction, recycling, and diversion programs. The passing of state Assembly Bill (AB) 939 in 1989 required all jurisdictions in California to divert 50 percent of their waste by the year 2000.
San Diego's last full waste characterization study was conducted in 1999. San Diego reached a 52 percent diversion rate in 2004 and has steadily increased diversion to 68 percent 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 65 percent 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 study evaluated the types and amounts of waste still being disposed and will be used 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.
- Summary of Study and Material Definitions
- Overall City Waste Composition
- Overall Residential Waste Composition
- Overall Commercial Waste Composition
- Overall Military Waste Composition
- Summary of Methodology
- CalRecycle (formerly California Integrated Waste Management Board)
- CalRecycle (formerly California Department of Conservation) Beverage Container Recycling Homepage
- California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA)
- Californians Against Waste
- U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Educational Resources
- Backyard Composting Guide
- 2019 Certified C&D Recycling Facility Directory
- Certified Mixed C&D Processing Facilities Historical Diversion Rates
- City of San Diego Recycling Ordinance Brochure
- City of San Diego Residential Recycling Guide
- Compost Bin Voucher Application (Electronic Form), (Printable Version)
- Curbside Yard Waste Recycling Program Brochure
- Curbsider, ESD's recycling newsletter
- Greenery (Compost/Mulch/Wood Chips) Guide
- No Scavenging Flyer
- Overall Composition of Disposed San Diego Waste
- Programa de Reciclaje Domestico de Desechos de Jardín
- Recycling Collection Services for Businesses & Multi-family Complexes
- Recycling Collection Services for Special Events
- Recycling Tips FAQs
- Take-out Container Recycling
- What Goes Where? Recycling Flyer
- What Goes Where? Special Holiday Edition
- What to do with Appliances, E-Waste and Universal Waste