Residential Rates

Residential Rates

Residential Refuse Rates

Residential customers are single-family homes or two- to five-unit residential buildings.

The City and County of San Francisco’s Refuse Collection and Disposal Rate Board approved a zero waste rate structure for residential customers. This structure incentivizes residents to recycle and compost more and throw away less in support of the City’s efforts to achieve Zero Waste by 2020—a goal established by the Board of Supervisors.

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

Under the City Rate Order, the charge for residential customers subscribing to weekly collection of 32-gallon black, blue and green bins totals $35.18 per month. That rate has four components: a $5.16 base charge per dwelling unit, $25.90 for a 32-gallon trash bin, $2.06 for a 32-gallon recycling bin, and $2.06 for a 32-gallon composting bin.

A bill for a single-family residential customer with three 32-gallon bins looks like this:


Standard Residential Monthly Bill

32-gal Trash (black bin) $25.90
32-gal Recycling (blue bin) $2.06
32-gal Compost (green bin) $2.06
Base charge $5.16
Total monthly bill $35.18

Additional Services

These residential charges are based on 32-gallon bin volumes. Larger bins are available; the costs above reflect the costs for each 32-gallon increment of service.  For example, a 64-gallon trash bin would cost $51.80, while a 64-gallon recycling bin would cost $4.12. Trash bins are available in a 20-gallon size for those customers who have significantly reduced the volume of their trash. For more information about these mini-cans, click here.

Premium services such as key, distance and elevation remain available and, if subscribed to, will be part of the monthly bill.  Customers looking to subscribe to these services should contact us.

Residential customers are entitled to two pickups per year for large or bulky items at no additional cost. This service is called Recycle My Junk and is a special service offered by Recology. For details and program guidelines, visit Bulky Item Recycling.

Recology also provides a service for household hazardous waste such as used motor oil and unwanted household cleaning products. For information on the household hazardous waste program, click here.


Zero Waste Rates

This structure encourages higher use of the recycling and compost service and less use of trash (black bin) service. For example, customers who opt for a larger recycling bin may be able to shift to a smaller trash bin, a key to managing disposal costs.

For more information about zero waste, the zero waste rate structure, and San Francisco’s rate setting process, go to

Discounted Mini-Can Rates

Discounted Mini-Can Rates

The mini-can rate is designed for customers who generate 20-gallons or less of black bin trash every week. Customers who recycle all of their paper, bottles and cans in the blue cart, and compost their food scraps and plants in the green bin are more likely to qualify for the 20-gallon bin rate. Other ways to minimize the amount going into your trash bin are to reuse items and to reduce what you buy that is not recyclable or compostable.

During the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, the residential charge per month is $16.19 for the discounted 20-gallon mini-can, compared to $25.90 for a 32-gallon trash bin.

A bill for a single-family residential customer with a 20-gallon trash bin and 32-gallon recycling and composting bins looks like this:


Mini-Can Residential Monthly Bill

20-gal Trash (black bin) $16.19
32-gal Recycling (blue bin) $2.06
32-gal Compost (green bin) $2.06
Base charge $5.16
Total monthly bill $25.47

Lifeline Rates

Lifeline Rates

In San Francisco, low-income households may be eligible for a 25% discount on their basic refuse collection rate. Qualification depends on household size and total annual income. The discounted rates, called "Lifeline Rates", are in effect now. All households receive the same high-quality trash collection and recycling service, regardless of the rate they pay.

To see whether you may qualify, find your household's total annual income on the table below.


Number of Persons
Living in the Household
Total Gross Annual Income
1 or 2 $24,030 or less
3 $30,240 or less
4 $36,450 or less
More than 4 Add $6,210 for each additional person

In addition to the applicant's income eligibility, the address on the applications must be where the household lives for more than half the year (not the second home), and the applicant cannot be claimed on another person's income tax return.

If an eligible household receives multi-bin service, the Lifeline Rate is applicable to only one bin.  This means that a household with two trash bins, two recycling bins, etc. will only receive a discount on the first bin of each color.  Bins of any type over 32-gallons are not eligible for the lifeline rate.


What are the rates?

There are two Lifeline Rates: a 32-gallon rate and a 20-gallon rate (based on the size of your trash cart).

  • The standard Lifeline Rate is for customers who use a 32-gallon trash cart.
  • The Lifeline Mini-Can Rate is for customers who use the small, 20-gallon trash cart.

For the July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 rate year, the Lifeline Rates set by the Rate Board are as follows:


Type of Service Lifeline Rate
(per month)
Standard Rate
(per month)
32-Gallon (Regular Cart) for weekly pick up $19.43 $25.90
20-Gallon (Mini-can) for weekly pick up $12.14 $16.19


The discounted rate for a 32-gallon recycling (blue) or compost (green) bin is $1.55 each (25% off of $2.06), and the per-unit base charge is $3.87 (25% off of $5.16). 

Below is an example bill for a single family lifeline customer who has three 32-gallon bins.


Lifeline Residential Monthly Bill

32-gal Trash (black bin) $19.43
32-gal Recycling (blue bin) $1.55
32-gal Compost (green bin) $1.55
Base Charge $3.87
Total monthly bill $26.40


How do I apply?

To apply for a Lifeline rate, print and complete the application and mail it to:

Recology Sunset Scavenger
250 Executive Park Blvd., Suite 2100
San Francisco, CA 94134
Recology Golden Gate
900 Seventh Street
San Francisco, CA 94107

You may also call Recology Sunset Scavenger and have one faxed or mailed to you.

Does a Lifeline Rate alter my service?
No. Your collection day and cart will remain the same. Place your carts and recyclables curbside as always and enjoy the savings. Note: Collection of trash, recyclable, and compostable items is included in all residential service, regardless of rate.

If I don't qualify for a Lifeline Rate, can I still reduce my collection costs?
The only way to reduce your collection costs is to generate less. By recycling more, you may be able to reduce the amount of trash generated and reduce your cart size. The minimum service is one 20-gallon cart collected weekly with a monthly rate of $25.47.

Don't qualify for the Lifeline Rate but still want to reduce your bill?
Try recycling more! Through aggressive recycling and composting you can reduce your bill. Depending on your service level, recycling more may help you reduce the size of your trash cart - thereby reducing your bill.

We offer a 20-gallon mini-can rate for customers who generate 20-gallons or less of weekly refuse.
Customers who recycle their waste, reuse discarded items, or do not generate a large amount of refuse each week may qualify. More information can be found in the "Discounted Mini-Can Rate" tab above.

Please send us an e-mail if you have any questions about Lifeline Rates or other services.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. If don’t fill my standard 32-gallon black trash bin each week can I get a smaller one?
A. Yes, you can reduce your black trash bin size to as small as 20 gallons per week for a single-family home. By switching to the smaller 20 gallon cart your monthly rate will actually be less then what you are paying today!

Q. What if I have extra recycling or composting that does not fit in the bin?
A. Extra recycling and composting will be collected along with your bins on your regular collection day. For directions on how to properly set out extras, visit our FAQ.  Additional charges may apply. If you regularly set out more then can fit into your bin, you will need to right-size your bin and your bill will be adjusted accordingly.

Q. Why does the new rate structure include charges for the blue recycling and green composting bins? Don’t you sell the recyclables?
A. Yes, we do sell the recyclables we collect in the program, and that money goes back into the rate to help offset costs of the program. However, only about 10% of the revenue needed comes from the sale of recyclables, not nearly enough to cover the costs of the blue and green collection and processing.  The other 90% of the program funding is from the monthly rates our customers pay.

Q. I am on a fixed income do you have rates for low income residents?
A. Yes, we have lifeline rates available. Visit the lifeline rates section or contact us if you have further questions.

Q. Will I still be billed every three months?
A. Yes, residential billing will continue to be quarterly. Residential multi-family customers currently receiving monthly bills will continue to be billed monthly.