Climate Action Plan Goals & Metrics for Waste Reduction and Recycling
Strategies to reduce solid waste disposal are an essential piece of reducing the emissions that cause global warming. Recycling, composting, and reducing overall consumption serve to decrease upstream, energy intensive production processes and to keep waste out of landfills where it releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Berkeley’s goal is to achieve Zero Waste by 2020. Zero Waste means that all discarded material is recycled, composted, or reused. None is sent to the landfill.
Check out the Climate Action Plan’s goals for waste reduction and recycling. Click on the links below each goal to review our community’s performance to date and to access other relevant resources and information. To learn more about what can be recycled, see City of Berkeley's Zero Waste Programs and Services.
- Solid waste disposal decreased by approximately 50% from 2000 to 2013- a reduction of approximately 56,000 tons of landfill waste
- Increase residential composting, recycling, and source reduction
- Increase commercial composting, recycling, and source reduction
- Increase recycling of construction and demolition (C&D) debris
- Expand local capacity to process recycled materials
- Expand efforts to eliminate waste at its source
- Revise City solid waste disposal structure to enhance waste diversion
- Increase waste diversion in public buildings
Goal 1: Increase residential composting, recycling, and source reduction
Berkeley residents are deeply committed to recycling and composting. To make it as easy as possible to do so, the City of Berkeley, in partnership with the Ecology Center, provides curbside recycling services for bottles, cans, plastics, newspaper, mixed paper, and cardboard. The City also provides curbside composting of plant debris and food waste. Click here for more information about residential recycling and composting.
Goal 2: Increase commercial composting, recycling, and source reduction
Many local businesses are significantly reducing their refuse bills through increased recycling and composting. The City collects glass bottles, plastics, aluminum cans, paper, and cardboard from commercial customers. In addition, the City collects food waste, food-soiled paper and other compostable serving containers and utensils, and yard waste from commercial users for composting. Click here for more information about commercial recycling and composting.
Goal 3: Increase recycling of construction and demolition (C&D) debris
Construction and demolition (C&D) debris represents a significant portion of the total waste stream in Alameda County – over 21 percent. In fact, a typical new home produces approximately 17,000 pounds of C&D waste. Recycling C&D waste not only keeps it from ending up in the landfill, but also reduces the upstream energy consumption required to manufacture new construction materials. Click here to learn more about construction and demolition requirements.
Goal 4: Expand local capacity to process recycled materials
Expanding local capacity to process recycled materials has the potential to reduce the GHG emissions associated with transporting materials elsewhere as well as create local jobs in the waste management sector. The City's goal is to expand the types of materials that are collected for recycling, such as rigid plastic packaging (e.g., yogurt containers), in order to reduce confusion about recyclable materials and increase waste diversion. See here for information about what can be recycled.
Goal 5: Expand efforts to eliminate waste at its source
Achieving the City's Zero Waste goal requires not only increased recycling and composting, but also efforts to eliminate waste at its source, i.e., the point of production.
Goal 6: Revise City solid waste disposal structure to enhance waste diversion
The Climate Action Plan includes a recommendation to revise the City solid waste disposal rate structure in order to maintain and enhance incentives, outreach programs, and other activities designed to increase recycling and composting. The City will use this site, among other channels, to keep the community informed about this effort. Click here to learn more about the solid waste disposal rate.
Goal 7: Increase waste diversion in public buildings
Reducing waste in municipal buildings demonstrates important leadership for our community. Some of the strategies recommended in the Climate Action Plan include ensuring that every city department is equipped with the appropriate recycling containers and the staff is educated on how to recycle 100% of recyclable materials. In addition, the City is working to limit City paper use by promoting duplexing and electronic distribution of documents.