You do not have to accept litter as an unfortunate part of the urban landscape — San Francisco has clear restrictions against littering and dumping trash. You can help enforce these laws by calling the Department of Public Works (DPW) at 311 whenever you notice garbage on the streets. If you know who is responsible for the trash, you should also report that fact, and the DPW will send out officers to investigate. Be sure to include specific location information, such as the nearest street address and cross-streets, a description of what has been dumped, plus the name, address or license plate number of the culprit, if applicable. The agency tries to respond to reports within 24 hours and violators will be cited. Note that it also is illegal to deposit residential trash in city litter receptacles. Homeowners or landlords in San Francisco must arrange for garbage service and pay appropriate fees. See our Garbage Service article for details.
If you are interested in taking part in a larger effort to clean and beautify the City, look into joining one of the following groups or programs:
- The Adopt-A-Street Program is "a partnership between the City, its merchants and residents. The program is simple: groups or individuals agree to adopt a street or an area and take responsibility for keeping it clean." Call (415) 98-ADOPT for further information.
- The DPW's Community Clean Team is "a citywide volunteer program that partners city agencies with residents, merchants and students to clean and beautify San Francisco neighborhoods." Call (415) 554-5447 or email email@example.com to find out how to help.
- The San Francisco Clean City Coalition, "a non-profit organization founded in 1991, works to keep San Francisco clean and green by building bridges between resources and the neighborhood groups, merchant associations, and residents that need them." Call (415) 552-9201 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.