Is Working From Home Filling Your Garbage & Recycling Carts?

With Chamber Member Teresa Montgomery, Sustainability Manager, South San Francisco Scavenger Company,

If you are working from home, and you were not before the pandemic, chances are good that you are placing a greater volume and variety of waste in your garbage and recycling carts. If you need to increase your service or schedule a special pick up or two, we can certainly help (call 650.589.4020 or email but we really want to encourage waste reduction and correct waste sorting. Here are a few tips:
• Avoid excess packaging by shopping locally or requiring that items be shipped responsibly. Request that vendors utilize reusable or at least recyclable or compostable packaging. Minimize the number of packages/shipments ordered; request that orders be combined and reasonably packaged. Complain if your order is split into too many small packages or if the packages are way too big for the item(s) inside.
• Remember that only certain types of empty containers can be recycled under the blue lid of your recycling cart. Soft or “film” plastics like shrink wrap, bubble wrap, bags, and similar do not belong in your blue cart. They become contaminated by other items that are collected, and they get wound up it the recycling sort lines (causing frequent and expensive repairs). Window, mirror, auto, and houseware glass items (plates, cups, vases, casserole dishes, Pyrex, and light bulbs for example) do not belong in the blue cart either. They do not meltdown and recycle like a wine bottle or jam jar do. They belong in the garbage if they can no longer be used.
• Flatten and/or cutdown bulky recyclables. Empty milk and water jugs are much easier to fit under the blue lid of your recycling cart if they are crushed first. A few small flat boxes will fit fine under the gray lid of the recycling cart, but multiple or large boxes are better collected in a bundle—simply flatten, cutdown to about 2’x2’, secure with string, ribbon, twine, or tape and place next to your recycling cart for collection.
• Learn about drop-off and mail-in recycling programs. Use the search engine at and ask your favorite retailers if they have any public collection bins. You are likely to find drop-off spots for printer ink/toner, paint, batteries, cell phones, motor oil, medications, compact fluorescent lights, e-waste, CDs/DVDs, Styrofoam blocks & peanuts, plastic bags, textiles, and more!
Most importantly, don’t give up. Every effort you make to reduce, reuse, and recycle is important. Our combined efforts make a HUGE difference. If you need help finding a way to recycle something or if you have a tip to share with others, please send an email to, message us on Facebook @ssfscavenger, or call 650.589.4020.