Tenants and landlords should plan ahead to increase reuse and recycling. Avoid fines of up to $500 for illegal dumping.
As Cal students move out for the summer, tenants and landlords can help keep our streets clean and safe by planning ahead, using City of Berkeley services, and properly disposing of the items they no longer need.
Dumping mattresses and other items on the sidewalk creates a mess, can be a safety hazard, and doesn't promote reuse. It is also illegal and punishable by fines that can reach up to $500 a day. Please use the available mattress collection and recycling options for mattresses and box springs.
Use your building's refuse and recycling bins or other resources listed below to reuse, recycle, or discard what you don't need.
Plan ahead with prepaid trash bags or extra pickups
Start thinking now about what you'll keep and what you'll discard. Don't wait until the last minute and then throw everything in the garbage or in the streets. Take advantage of these City services:
- Order extra trash pickup or a short-term dumpster by calling (510) 981-7270.
- Properties of 4 units or smaller can schedule a free Bulky Waste Pickup for extra refuse.
- Drop off up to 2 mattresses, box springs, or futons for free at the Berkeley Transfer Station (1201 Second St).
- Purchase City of Berkeley's prepaid trash bags if you live in a single-family home or a property of 1-4 units. 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. The City's prepaid trash bags can be purchased at the Transfer Station. The total number of bags must not exceed 10 each week.
- Take items or bags of materials directly to the Transfer Station.
- Recycle up to 2 electronic items at the Transfer Station for free.
When visiting the Transfer Station, everyone must wear a mask and follow social distancing protocols for the protection of themselves and workers.
Find ways to reuse unwanted items
Keep reusable items out of landfills. Try to find someone to use what you don't need. Don't leave it on a sidewalk. Abandoned furniture and debris on sidewalks or in the public right-of-way can result in citations and fines of up to $500 a day.
- 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.
- Recycle items that can’t be reused
For recyclable items that can't be reused, recycle using your building's recycling bins. Review guidelines to see if an item is recyclable.
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.
For 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.
- The UC Berkeley Cooperative Reuse program takes place at the Clark Kerr Campus from May 20 - May 30, and is an excellent way for UC Berkeley students to recycle mattresses and furniture upon move-out.
- Electronics: Computers, televisions, microwaves, stereos, and programmable gadgets should never be put into garbage cans or debris bins, nor 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 ewaste Collective 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 Stop Waste for drop-off sites.
- Check the 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. For both refuse and recycling, all your materials should fit inside your cart with the lid closed completely. If boxes are too big to fit inside your recycling cart, break them down and cut them apart.
Recycled materials are hand sorted by workers, so it is important to only put recyclable materials in your bin. Please do not put the following items in the recycling:
- Tissues, paper towels, wipes, masks, or latex gloves
- Food and liquids
- 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.
- Tips and resources for Cal students, property owners, and managers
- Website for Cal students, by students. Cal students can learn more about donating (or bringing home) recyclable household items like furniture
- City of Berkeley Trash and Recycling Services: Multifamily (10 units+) and commercial recycling information
- Berkeley Ecology Center: Residential curbside recycling (properties with up to 9 units) information
- Berkeley Recycling Center: Drop off recyclables, including extra cardboard and textiles
- Stop Waste website
- 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