Recycling/Waste Reduction

Colma has an exclusive agreement with Republic Services to provide all recycling, organics and garbage collection.

Recycle More! Recycling is Free. Add New Organics Recycling Program.

Businesses can typically recycle 70% of the waste they generate. Expand your recycling program with a free recycling assessment from Republic Services. Contact recycling staff for your free assessments, go to:

To contact Republic services visit:

Reusable Bag Ordinance Effective August 1, 2013

Close the Recycling look by buying recycled products. BUY GREEN /RECYCLED CONTENT PRODUCTS

Purchase paper made from recycled content products. Make sure materials you buy are recyclable or compostable.  Visit

Colma joins many other San Mateo County cities to encourage the use of reusable bags because 20 billion single-use plastic grocery bags are used every year in California, and most end up in landfills, or as litter on land and in our waterways.
The County of San Mateo states: Researchers have documented the harmful impact to our environment and wildlife caused by one-use plastic bags. Plastic never biodegrades; instead it breaks down into smaller and smaller particles that seep into our soil and water. Paper bags aren’t much better. While recycling has helped, a study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that only 4.3% of bags end up being recycled and a single-use paper bag has an even larger greenhouse gas emission than plastic bags. San Mateo County prepared an Environmental Impact Report and found that adoption of an ordinance regulating single use bags would benefit the environment.

Polystyrene Ordinance Ban Effective August 1, 2013

A new Polystyrene Ban Ordinance will applies only to Colma’s businesses, which sell prepared food items. The ordinance prohibits the use of containers made of polystyrene, the most common item being clamshell type containers. The implementation date of the ordinance is August 1, 2013. The following are frequently asked questions from the San Mateo County website regarding the ordinance.

What does the Ordinance prohibit?

  • Foam and solid polystyrene food service ware as listed in the Ordinance, including but not limited to containers, bowls, plates, and cups.
  • Ask your supplier if you are unsure if your products are polystyrene.

What is wrong with polystyrene food service ware?

  • It is not recyclable.
  • It is a common item that is littered on streets that ends up in storm drains, on beaches, and in the Bay and Ocean.
  • It breaks down into smaller pieces that may be ingested by wildlife resulting in reduced appetite, reduced nutrient absorption, and starvation.
  • It contains hazardous chemicals that may leach from polystyrene containers into food and drink and may cause cancer.

What food service ware does the ordinance allow?

  • Any type of biodegradable, compostable, reusable, or recyclable food service ware.
  • Acceptable products include: Aluminum, plastics coded with #1, 2, 4 or 5, uncoated or coated paper, cardboard, and plastics made from corn, potatoes, sugar, or other plant based products.

What can my business do to reduce food service ware costs?

  • Allow and encourage customers to bring their own mugs to buy drinks.
  • Charge a “take out fee” to cover the cost difference.
  • Use reusable dishes and cups instead of disposable ones for “eat-in” customers.

To find out more about the ordinance, products that are permitted and sources to purchase alternative containers, go to: (excerpts from this site are above), or contact the Planning Department at (650)757-8888

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