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City Manager's Office
City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Pamela Embry, Public Information Officer, (510) 981-2480


Berkeley, California (Wednesday, July 10, 2013) - The City of Berkeley’s Zero Waste Division is ready to accept all kinds of plastic containers into the City’s Recycling Program. This includes the Ecology Center’s residential curbside collection, the City’s commercial recycling collection, and drop-off of recyclables at the City’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) operated by the Community Conservation Center (CCC).

Residential customers will soon receive postcards with details of the change from accepting “Plastic Bottles Only” to accepting “All Plastic Containers,” including plastic tubs, buckets, cups and trays. Small plastic items such as utensils, straws, and coffee lids; as well as styrofoam, plastic bags or wrap, and compostable plastics are not accepted for curbside recycling and should be put in the trash. Large plastic items that do not fit in collection carts can be brought to Berkeley Recycling at 2nd and Gilman Streets, 7-days a week for free drop-off.

Before now, Berkeley only accepted bottle-grade plastics (#1 PET or #2 HDPE).  “Other plastic containers” (OPC) were considered a contaminant in the container recycling stream and not acceptable for collection in Berkeley due to factors such as unstable markets, uncertain end‑uses, and lack of overseas recycling industry environmental regulations. However, with more non-bottle rigid plastics in the waste stream, expanding recycling options became essential.

Andy Schneider, Berkeley Recycling Program Manager, comments that “Accepting all plastic containers for collection is a positive move towards the community’s zero waste goal. Recycling these plastics is still challenging, but we have to find ways to divert this material from our waste stream.”

Even with this new program, the City’s Recycling Program message continues to be, “Do your part: reduce your use whenever possible.”

For details of other specialized recycling options at Berkeley Recycling visit: http://berkeleyrecycling.org/index.php. For more information on plastics recycling and reducing plastic impacts visit: http://ecologycenter.org/zerowaste/ .


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