New State-of-the-Art Recycling System Goes Live at Recology San Francisco

The most modern recycling line in the country is running full speed in San Francisco. The upgraded system is fully functional in time to sort San Francisco’s recyclables from the coming holiday season, a period when trash generation historically surges by 15 percent.

Recycle Central, the 200,000-square-foot recycling plant on Pier 96, just completed a major upgrade. The plant is the backbone of San Francisco’s recycling program for bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, and other recyclables.

Delegations from 82 countries have toured Recycle Central in the last four years. Now they want to come back to see a newly installed state-of-the art system that increases processing capacity by 170 tons per day.

The modern line also will allow San Francisco to adapt to changes in the number and type of recyclable materials, such as the increase in small- and medium-sized cardboard boxes from online shopping and lighter plastic containers for beverages and some foods. The new line will also provide the flexibility to recover new materials in the future.

The system improvement cost $11.6 million. Components include:

  • An advanced metering system for inbound materials.
  • A presort line with 14 sorting stations, the longest in the U.S.
  • Modern equipment that mechanically separates cardboard and glass bottles from other materials.
  • Two new lines of spinning disk screens that separate paper from plastic containers.
  • New high-tech optical sorters that separate different types of plastic.
  • A state-of-the-art glass cleaning system.

“With this state-of-the-art equipment Recycle Central and the sorters who work here will recycle more material and send less to landfill,” says Mark Arsenault, Regional Vice President for Recology operations in San Francisco. “We encourage residents and businesses across San Francisco to place all their recyclables in their blue recycling bin so we can sort them at Recycle Central and continue our efforts to reduce waste going to landfill.”

Recology and the San Francisco Department of the Environment encourage all San Franciscans to take steps to reduce consumption and to be more attentive to recycling.

“Thanks to Recology’s continued innovation and infrastructure improvements, San Francisco is now ready to capture more of the recycled material that comes into our homes or businesses,” said Debbie Raphael, Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment. “As we continue to lead the way, we each can do our part to reduce waste by making sure we place all of our recyclables in the blue bin every day.”

Recycle Central is operated by Recology, the employee-owned recycling and composting collection company based in San Francisco.

Media contact: Robert Reed,, (415) 606-9183

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *