Berkeley Recycling Services
Berkeley residents and businesses have shown a deep commitment to recycling. The continued increase in recycling of all materials, and the community-wide support for our organics recycling program, are bringing us close to the City’s goal of diverting 75% of all refuse away from landfills.
The City of Berkeley offers a wide range of recycling services to residential and business customers. This includes curbside recycling, commercial food waste collection, and operation of the City's Transfer Station which receives materials that can be recycled, reused and composted. In addition, other businesses in the area work in cooperation with City services to both meet your needs and make the best use of these materials.
NEW! Berkeley Expands Recycling Program to Include All Plastic Containers
Effective July 2013 the City of Berkeley’s residential and commercial curbside recycling programs now accept any clean, rigid plastic containers. This includes the Ecology Center’s residential curbside collection, the City’s commercial recycling collection, and drop-off of recyclables at the City-owned Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) operated by the Community Conservation Center (CCC).
Plastics Acceptable for Recycling
- YES: Any plastic bottle - lids are OK if attached.
- YES: Any clean rigid plastic container that fits in the cart, including dairy-product tubs, "clam shell" containers, buckets, planter pots (please remove all dirt), food trays (from inside packaged food), and plastic cups.
Plastics NOT Acceptable for Recycling
- NO: Small plastic items (examples: utensils, hot cup lids, loose caps, condiment cups).
- NO: Compostable plastics.
- NO: Styrofoam.
- NO: Non-rigid food packaging (snack bags & other "soft" plastic packages).
Plastics to Recycle Elsewhere
- Plastic bags - many markets accept clean plastic bags.
- Large plastic items that don’t fit in collection carts can be brought to Berkeley Recycling at 2nd & Gilman 7 days a week for free drop-off.
Mandatory Recycling Requirements for Businesses & Multi-family Properties in Alameda County have been in effect since July 2012: businesses that generate 4 cubic yards or more of waste per week, and multi-family properties of 5 units or more, must have recycling service. This Countywide ordinance will help reduce landfill-bound waste and provide essential services for businesses and tenants. For more information about business or property owner requirements, visit the Alameda County Waste Authority’s Mandatory Recycling Website: http://www.recyclingrulesac.org/.
To establish recycling service at your Berkeley property or business, please call the City's Customer Service Call Center at 311 (510-981-7270). The City of Berkeley provides free assistance, collection containers and instructional posters to all refuse accounts.
Commercial Recycling Services
Commercial Business & Apartment Recycling (10 units or more): Our program collects recyclables in 2 separate carts: one for glass, plastics, and cans; and the other for corrugated cardboard, newspaper, and mixed papers (office papers, packaging, junk mail, and catalogs).
Commercial Food Waste Collection: Restaurants, produce markets, florists, bakeries and food manufacturers can use our food waste recycling program. Your organic scraps and waxed cardboard will be made into compost. For details see Commercial Recycling, or email Customer Service.
More information about all Commercial Recycling Services is available at Commercial Recycling.
Residential Recycling Services
Residential Curbside Recycling: Split-Carts are used for Residential Recycling for single-family homes and duplexes; apartment buildings up to 9 units have separate carts for containers and papers. Weekly collection of bottles, cans and plastics, newspaper, mixed papers and cardboard, is provided by the Ecology Center. For more information, see Residential Recycling Services.
Residential Plant Debris & Food Waste Collection: You can use your Green Cart to recycle plant debris and food waste. This also includes milk or juice cartons, food contaminated paper, paper cups/plates, and waxed paper. For details see information at Plant Debris & Food Waste, where there's also useful information about home composting!
Holiday Trees: Through January 31 you can place your holiday tree at the curb on your normal collection day. Trees must be cut to a maximum of 5' tall. You may also choose to drop your holiday tree off at the Transfer Station at no charge during the month of January. Businesses and residents of multi-family buildings, who don't normally have plant debris service, can call 311 (or 510-981-7270) for the plant debris service day for their street. After January you can cut up your tree to fit in your plant debris cart, or you can bring it to the Berkeley Transfer Station for the minimum compost fee of $23.
- Please remove: all lights, decorations, tinsel, bags and tree stands.
- Flocked trees and trees treated with fire retardant are OK.
Transfer Station: the City's Transfer Station accepts refuse, recyclable materials, unpainted/untreated wood and other items.
More information about Residential Recycling and the new split carts is available at Residential Recycling Services.
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What to Recycle
- Glass: All colors; lids and labels can stay on. DO NOT INCLUDE dishes, light bulbs, windows, or glass bakeware - they melt at a different temperature than bottles.
- Cans: "Tin" and aluminum cans, aluminum foil and trays.
- Plastic: Bottles and any clean rigid plastic containers that fit in the cart, including dairy-product tubs, "clam shell" containers, buckets, planter pots, food trays, and plastic cups.
- Newspaper: Newspapers and all inserts that come with them can be recycled with mixed paper.
Mixed Papers: Office papers, junk mail, cereal boxes, wrapping paper, envelopes, magazines, catalogs, and phonebooks.
- It's okay to include metal staples, clips, glue, labels, and plastic windows; it's not okay to include tissue, plastic attachments, or photographs.
- Corrugated Cardboard: In order to collect cardboard, please cut it to fit into the cart, or flatten and bundle cardboard and set out next to the cart. Small amounts can be included with mixed paper.
Other Resources in the Area
Urban Ore: Buys, trades and sells used or surplus building materials, household items, furniture, fixtures, art, computers. Urban Ore is located at 900 Murray Street near 7th Street and Ashby Avenue. Urban Ore also contracts with the City to salvage reusable items at the City of Berkeley Transfer Station. Call (510) 841-7283 for information about their General Store and Building Materials Yard. Call (510) 559-4461 for pickup of usable materials by Urban Ore's Outside Trader. http://urbanore.com.
Community Conservation Centers: Located near the City of Berkeley Transfer Station at 2nd and Gilman Streets, CCC provides processing for the City's recyclables. Recycling buyback is open Tuesday - Sunday 9:00-4:00, and drop-off is open Monday – Sunday 8:30-4:00. CCC accepts glass bottles and jars, cans, plastic bottles, mixed paper, newspaper, cardboard, scrap metal and non-refrigerated appliances. CCC also accepts household batteries, fluorescent tubes and bulbs, mercury switches and cell phones. Please see their website, as there is a small fee for large quantities of these Universal Waste items. http://berkeleyrecycling.org/index.php.
Catalog Choice: Catalog Choice is a convenient way to prevent waste: Berkeley residents and businesses can take advantage of a free online service to opt out of unwanted catalogs, advertising mail pieces, and phone books. For more information, go to Catalog Choice at: Berkeley.catalogchoice.org/.
Reuse Directory: A guide to reuse, rental, and repair shops in Berkeley and Albany. Copies are available at your branch library, by contacting Customer Service, or by email.
Alameda County Recycling Hotline: Where to recycle in Alameda County, including construction and demolition materials, residential commercial and industrial items. Information on buying recycled products. Visit www.StopWaste.org.
Household Hazardous Waste Hotline: Household toxics drop off service for county residents and small businesses. Call (800) 606-6606 for advice and drop-off schedule.
Alameda County Home Composting "Rotline": Free composting classes, Master Composter training, and other information. Call (510) 444-SOIL or visit www.StopWaste.org.
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