Prepare for students returning. Order extra trash pickups or increased service and avoid illegal dumping fines of up to $500 a day during this fall move-in.
As the fall semester begins and Cal students move in, tenants and landlords can help keep our streets clean by planning ahead and using City of Berkeley services.
Overfilling a trash bin, leaving used boxes on the curb, and ditching furniture outside create a mess and possible safety hazards. Sidewalk dumping doesn’t promote reuse. These actions are also illegal and punishable by fines that can reach up to $500 a day.
We have resources to help you sustainably discard what you don’t need – and avoid illegal dumping fines. Follow these three steps: plan ahead, reuse and recycle.
Plan ahead when new tenants are moving in
If you have new tenants moving in, order extra pickups or increased service for your recycling bins or trash. The property owner or authorized contacts listed on the refuse account can call (510) 981-7270 to take advantage of these City services:
- Order extra curbside collection or a short-term dumpster.
- Request curbside mattress collection for 1- to 9-unit properties twice per year, for up to 2 or 4 mattresses or box springs (depending on property size) at no charge.
- Schedule a Free Bulky Waste Pickup for extra trash (for 1- to 4-unit properties).
- Purchase prepaid trash bags or plant debris bags (for 1- to 4-unit properties). Up to 10 prepaid City bags, if left at the curb, will be picked up by the City's Zero Waste Division on regular pickup days. Other trash bags left on curbs will not be picked up. Prepaid trash and plant debris bags can be purchased at the Transfer Station or the Berkeley Ace Hardware.
- Take a variety of items directly to the Transfer Station. Residents may drop off up to 2 mattresses or box springs and up to 2 electronic devices for free.
Keep reusable items out of landfills
Abandoned furniture and debris on sidewalks or in the public right-of-way can result in citations and fines up to $500 a day. Try to find someone to use what you don't need. Don't leave it on a sidewalk.
- Unopened Food: Help neighbors in need by donating unopened food to the Berkeley Food Network.
- Furniture and Household Goods: Reuse stores like Urban Ore accept some furniture and household items in good condition. Check their website or call before visiting to confirm they will accept your items and are receiving donations at this time.
- Textiles: Drop off textiles, including clothing, shoes, handbags, backpacks, and linens/bedding at the Textile Recycling Drop Box at the Berkeley Recycling Center for reuse.
- Cardboard boxes: If using sites like Craigslist, Freecycle, or Nextdoor for reusable items, take precautions when arranging pickups or drop-offs.
Recycle items that can't be repurposed
For recyclable items that can't be repurposed, use your building's recycling carts or bins to recycle. Please keep in mind, Berkeley has a dual-stream recycling program, so recyclable materials must be sorted accordingly. Cardboard/paper is collected separately from Bottles/Cans/Plastic Containers. Not sure if an item is recyclable? Review guidelines.
For single-family homes or small apartment complexes with Ecology Center Recycling collection, review the Ecology Center's recycling guidelines for program specifics. Extra cardboard can be bundled and placed curbside next to your Ecology Center recycle cart on your recycling service day. Larger multifamily properties need to order additional recycling service for extra cardboard pickup.
For extras or items that can't be recycled curbside:
- The Recycling Center located at 669 Gilman Street accepts a variety of recyclable items, including clothing and household textiles, scrap metal, appliances, cooking oil, and cardboard boxes.
- Electronics: Computers, televisions, microwaves, stereos, and programmable gadgets should never be put into garbage cans and debris bins or placed curbside. They are hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly. Recycle up to 2 electronic items at the Transfer Station for free. The Computer & Technology Resource Center (located at 2nd & Page St. in Berkeley) takes most electronic devices for free. Learn more about the items they accept at ewastecollective.org or call them at (415) 883-1428.
- Household Hazardous Waste: Hazardous items like paint, cleaning supplies, batteries, and fluorescent bulbs cannot be placed in curbside containers, and must be disposed of properly. Visit StopWaste.org/hhw for drop-off sites.
- Check the StopWaste.org RE:Source Guide to find local reuse, repair, recycling, and safe disposal options for almost anything.
Keep Refuse Workers Safe
Please take precautions to keep refuse and recycling workers safe. Your materials should fit inside your cart with the lid closed completely. Recycled materials are hand sorted by workers, so it is important to only put recyclable materials in your bin.
Do not put the following items in the recycling:
- Tissues, paper towels, wipes, masks, or latex gloves
- Food and liquids (place food in the compost!)
- Plastic bags
Work with nonprofits, don’t dump at encampments
Unsolicited donations of furniture, clothing, food, and other materials at encampments may seem like a gesture of good will to those in need, but can actually create unsafe conditions.
Consider donating to one of the City’s numerous nonprofit social service agencies that directly serve the homeless population, including:
- Berkeley Food Network
- Dorothy Day House
- Berkeley Food and Housing Project
- Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center
All of them provide meals and food resources to people experiencing homelessness in Berkeley.
Know that most nonprofits usually prefer cash donations. Consider calling nonprofits that work in Berkeley to inquire about their need and capacity to accept donations.
Report Illegal Dumping
We can all play a valuable role in keeping our streets clean and safe. If you see illegal dumping, call 311 or 510-981-2489 to report.
Abandoned furniture & debris on the sidewalk or public right of way may incur citations and fines up to $500 a day! See Berkeley Municipal Code Chapters 1.20.010, 12.32.030, 12.32.070, 12.32.110
- City of Berkeley Recycling Services: Multifamily (10 units+) and commercial recycling information
- Berkeley Ecology Center: Residential curbside recycling (1-9 unit properties) information
- Berkeley Recycling Center: Drop off recyclables, including extra cardboard and textiles
- StopWaste.org: Check the RE:Source Guide for local reuse, repair, recycling and safe disposal options for almost anything
- Computer and Technology Resource Center: Accepts electronic waste for recycling and gives away refurbished computers to those in need
- Berkeley Food Network: Help neighbors in need by donating unopened food.