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Toter Retrieval and Storage

toters on the sidewalk

To reduce vandalism and litter in the City, Public Works encourages private property owners to comply with city codes by promptly returning their garbage and recycling toters from the street after collection, and placing them behind enclosures that keep them hidden from public view. 

Toters that are left out too long on streets and sidewalks, or within plain view, are vulnerable to graffiti, vandalism, theft and scavenging that often produces litter.  They also obstruct the public right of way.

What you need to know:

  • Garbage and recycle toters cannot be placed on the sidewalk or street before 6:00 p.m. on the day immediately prior to collection.

  • Property owners are required to remove toters within 24 hours after collection.  

  • Businesses are required to remove toters immediately, on the following business day, when the business opens.  


Failure to comply with city codes may result in citations and fines of up to $250 per violation!


For proper storage of toters, here are some guidelines and recommendations for creating storage structures on private property that can help residents comply with city codes by hiding their toters from public view:  

  • Use freestanding structures or landscaping that follow guidelines.

  • Opaque materials may be used, including free standing fences, lattices, barricades and landscaping.

  • Materials should be sturdy.

  • Bamboo and tarps are considered acceptable material provided that they are secured to a frame. 

  • Structures must be placed entirely on private property. Structures may not be placed on the sidewalk or in the public right of way without a Minor Sidewalk Encroachment Permit, which can be obtained through the Public Works Bureau of Street-use and Mapping.


Property owners are responsible for the upkeep of these enclosures including the cleaning of the enclosure and removal of any graffiti that may occur.


For additional information, check out the brochurefactsheet or contact:

San Francisco Public Works
Street Use and Mapping
1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor (Map)
San Francisco, CA 94103