Resource recovery is fundamental to what Recology does. Our experience dates back to the early 1900s, when San Francisco Bay Area "scavengers" recognized the recycling opportunities in what was being discarded and actively sought out positive uses for refuse.
We are the pioneer in resource recovery, proud to have launched:
- The first anaerobic digestion of source-separated food scraps to create electricity in the United States, beginning in 2004.
- The first use of the split-body truck for efficient recyclables and trash collection in 1999.
- The first curbside compost collection program in the United States, piloted in 1996.
- The world-renowned Artist in Residence Program in 1990, giving local artists access to materials to create art.
- The first large scale transfer station in the industry. It opened in November 1970.
- One of the first household hazardous waste drop-off facilities and collection programs established in California as part of the municipal solid waste collected for the City and County of San Francisco.
Recology offers unique recycling programs and services to benefit San Francisco and to advance our industry toward WASTE ZERO. We continue to look for new ways to increase the recovery of resources in San Francisco.
Our Initiatives & Infrastructure
Optimizing resource recovery involves using the right facilities, technologies, and practices--this is core to what we do. Our employee-ownership culture makes it possible to constantly evaluate new technologies and processes, and refine our approach to resource recovery to create the kind of communities where we are proud to live and work.
Recology owns and operates several large-scale composting facilities that utilize state-of-the-art composting technology in California and Oregon to transform food scraps, yard debris, and other biodegradable material into compost for use as soil amendments by agricultural industries. Our compost is sought out by over 200 vineyards and local farms in California and Oregon.
Learn more about composting.
Experience has taught us that anaerobic digestion can play a part in many composting systems. In 2004, Recology began collaborating with the East Bay Municipal Utility District to transform food scraps into fuel. By feeding the organic material to anaerobic digesters at EBMUD's Wastewater Treatment Plant in Oakland, California, we have avoided emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from organic material that would have otherwise gone to landfills. The food scraps are pre-processed by Recology, transformed into biogas, and used to generate energy. The project is the first of its kind in the United States.
Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs)
MRFs are facilities where Recology processes the materials that have been collected for recycling and recovery.
Recology is proud to have an internationally-recognized single-stream MRF at Pier 96 in San Francisco. We own or operate facilities where recyclable materials like paper, plastic, wood, metal, electronics and fibers are sorted and prepared as inputs into their next use.
Learn about Recycle Central® at Pier 96.
The integrated Material Recovery Facility (iMRF) at Recology San Francisco exclusively processes construction and demolition (C&D) materials for recovery.
Learn more about our C&D recycling services.
Renewable Energy Generation
In 2007 Recology partnered with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and installed solar panels on the roof of our Recycle Central® facility at Pier 96. These solar panels are capable of producing 30% of the recycling facility's electricity, generating more than 380,000 KWh annually.
Our Environmental Learning Center in San Francisco also uses solar energy as part of their energy source mix.
We operate our vehicles using the cleanest technology available today.
Fully-automated and semi-automated
Recology collects resources for recovery and disposal in San Fracisco using many different kinds of trucks. Our semi-automated trucks allow drivers to use a lever, and other controls to efficiently collect carts and heavy bins while minimizing physical strain.
Recology pioneered the use of the split-body collection truck. These trucks make it possible to efficiently collect trash and recyclables at the same time and reduce the number of trucks on the road, which in turn reduces our GHG emissions. Recyclables and trash are never mixed in these trucks. The trucks have two compartments that keep source-separated recyclables in a separate compartment from landfill-bound trash.
Alternative-fuel vehicles are part of our daily operation. The majority of our fleet is fueled by alternatives to gasoline and conventional diesel. Our fuel mix includes biodiesel, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and compressed natural gas (CNG).