Commercial Rates

Commercial Rates

Commercial Rates

Commercial customers include: bars and restaurants, businesses, office buildings, retail stores, non-profit organizations, hospitals and other medical facilities, and other non-residential properties.

State law requires all properties to subscribe to trash removal. San Francisco City ordinance mandates that all properties participate in the recycling (blue bin) and compost (green bin) collection programs.

Below is an explanation of the commercial rate structure and the resources available to help commercial customers learn more about how to recycle and compost more of their refuse and about how to manage their monthly refuse collection costs within the zero waste rate structure.

Below is the structure for the commercial zero waste rates:

  • Base charge (fixed) 10% of total bill
  • First 10 percent of diversion not eligible for diversion discounts (diversion floor)
  • Diversion cap at 85%
  • Maximum diversion discount 75%

Charges are based upon service configurations, frequency of collection requested, and site-specific diversion rates.

Recology employs commercial rate specialists who are available to help commercial customers better manage their refuse collection costs by maximizing recycling and composting and minimizing disposal. For specific information about commercial hauling rates, contact a Recology commercial rate specialist.

Additional information about zero waste and the zero waste rate structure is available at

Zero Waste Rates

The Director of the Department of Public Works issued an order in June that approved a new zero waste rate structure to promote recycling and composting and to help facilitate the City’s efforts to achieve Zero Waste by 2020 – a goal established by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

San Francisco businesses, using programs provided by Recology, are doing a good job of recycling. Our City is recognized as a national leader in the quest to achieve the goal of zero waste by 2020. Mayor Ed Lee recently hosted a screening of Trashed, an award-winning documentary about global waste. A few days later he hosted an environmental breakfast. At both events, the mayor spoke of the importance of zero waste and said “it has to happen.”

In eleven years, San Francisco residents and businesses have cut the amount of material sent to landfill by 50 percent. Yet, San Francisco still sends 1,400 tons of trash to landfill every day. That’s a problem because trash in a landfill, particularly food scraps and plant matter, produces methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas. Instead, nearly all trash could and should be recycled or composted.

Doing construction or remodeling?
If you need big metal boxes (called debris boxes) for construction, demolition, or remodeling debris, Recology’s Debris Box Service can get you what you need and put it right where you want it. For more information, visit our debris box rental site.

Need furniture or e-waste hauled away?
Recology provides a special pick up service for customers who need large or bulky items like desks, chairs, and computers hauled away and recycled. The service is called Recycle My Junk. We can come on a day most convenient to your business’ schedule and for a fee can come inside your building and carry items out to collection trucks. We recycle over 60 percent of the material collected through this program.


Commercial Rate Structure

The Uniform Commercial Rate Structure

On July 1, 2006, the City of San Francisco implemented a commercial rate structure that creates discounts for businesses based on their diversion rate. Under the Uniform Commercial Rate Structure, rates charged for all commercial refuse and recycling collection services are based on a single set of rate tables that do not differentiate between the types of commercial collection services.

The Uniform Commercial Rate Structure includes base and variable rates and a recycling incentive program.

  • The base rate covers fixed system costs.
  • The variable rate is based on the service volume for refuse, recycling and composting collection.

Under the Uniform Commercial Rate Structure the fixed costs remain constant and the variable rate is discounted in proportion to the percent of service volume that is diverted from the landfill, up to 75 percent. 

The recycling incentive program is the mechanism used to determine the actual customer-specific diversion rates. A recycling incentive is calculated from a customer's actual diversion rate. The incentive is applied to the variable portion of the refuse and recycling bill. The maximum incentive allowed is 75 percent.


Participation Requirements

Participation Requirements

Businesses that participate in the recycling incentive program and are eligible for discounts under this program must separate their waste stream into two or three distinct components and make all recycling tonnage they produce available for collection by Recology Golden Gate or Recology Sunset Scavenger.

Customers participating in this program must consistently produce:

  1. Mixed, or comingled recyclables (bottles, cans and paper), that is relatively free of contamination
  2. Compostable materials (food scraps, soiled paper and yard trimmings), if applicable, and
  3. Non-recyclable, non-compostable material.

ATTENT03Customers must actively do their part to keep their mixed recycling (bottles, cans and paper) contamination-free. No more than 5 percent of non-recyclable material or items that are potentially recyclable but cannot be easily marketed are allowed in the recycling bin. Items that are considered prohibitive cause recycled bales to be immediately rejected at secondary recycling facilities (paper mills, etc.) and are not acceptable in any amount include: non-recyclable trash, medical waste, universal waste and hazardous waste.

If a commercial customer cannot consistently produce a relatively contaminant free stream of mixed recyclables, their participation in the program may be suspended and/or terminated. Prior to suspension and, or termination, the collection company (Recology Golden Gate or Recology Sunset Scavenger) will provide written notification identifying the contaminants and a reasonable period of time will be provided for the customer to eliminate the contamination.

help If you feel you need assistance analyzing your waste handling needs and services, please contact us. Our staff will help you identify the most affordable recycling service for your type of business. Our staff can also help you to select the right size and type of equipment to use, including compactors and balers. 


What is Your Commitment?

When you establish or increase your business recycling plan, it is your business's responsibility to implement and manage the program as it was designed. Recology can help in many ways, including providing outreach and education materials, and other assistance as needed.

ATTENT03Contamination in recycling and compost reduces the value of the materials, makes our resource recovery efforts ineffective and prevents us from achieving zero waste. If non-recyclable trash is mixed with recyclables in a cart, bin and/or compactor, the recyclables are disposed of in a landfill with the trash. Therefore, contamination jeopardizes your discount and your continued participation in the program.