Green waste — here being dumped at a Central Valley sorting site — is collected weekly in Berkeley. Photo: Sean Gin
Green waste — here being dumped at a Central Valley sorting site — is collected weekly in Berkeley. Photo: Sean Gin

Berkeley residents are some of the best recyclers in Alameda County, according to a new report by The report covers the years 1995-2010 and shows that Berkeleyans divert 76% of their waste away from landfills and towards recycling, composting and re-use.

“The City Council set a goal of 75% diversion by 2010, and our community has met that challenge,” said Interim City Manager Christine Daniel. “The City has steadily expanded our recycling programs since 1995, and Berkeley residents have taken full advantage of them.”

Albany was the top scorer in the county with an 83% diversion rate in 2010, and Berkeley was also beaten by Emeryville and Union City which both achieved 77%. Piedmont came in bottom with a lowly 59%, while Oakland scores a more respectable 65%.

Some of Berkeley’s recycling programs which contributed to its high score include:

  • The increased recycling of organics, like yard debris and food waste, made easier by weekly green-waste collection.
  • More customer education, which supports residents’ interest in recycling
  • The introduction and use of larger, split-cart recycling containers (although it should be noted that not all Berkeleyans greeted these with enthusiasm when they first appeared curbside in October 2010).

“The next big recycling challenge is multi-family housing,” said Ken Etherington, the city’s Solid Waste Division Manager. “We know that residents in apartments and condominiums want to recycle more, and we are working with building owners and managers on how to do that.”

Residents who want to learn more about how to improve their own diversion rates can visit the recycling information page of the city’s website. View’s Waste Diversion Rates for Alameda County Jurisdictions report.

Where does Berkeley’s green waste go? [06.23.11]
City considers ending its 40-year ties with Ecology Center [03.08.11]
Berkeley’s new recycling carts: how’s it going so far? [10.27.10]
City’s new recycling carts met with mixed reception [10.15.10]
New powder-blue split recycling carts coming your way [10.12.10]

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...