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Acton Street resident wins cash for trash contest

Daily Planet services
Wednesday May 30, 2001

Pat Graef of Acton Street in Berkeley won $250 last week in the Cash for Trash Contest. She was very pleased to win but admittedly would have preferred the previous week’s prize of $2,700.  

A diligent recycler, she was familiar with the contest but hadn't read the details carefully. So she was surprised to hear that the prize was cumulative and that last week's prizewinners, the Falck-Fountain family of South West Berkeley, won $2,700. That large detail aside, she was very happy to be a contestant – “Participating in the contest gave me the information I needed to confirm I am recycling right.”  

Not only is she recycling right, she is doing a great job! Not one recyclable was found in her 13-gallon trash cart - just film plastic, tissue and food waste. For when she has more then 13 gallons of trash or items that she can't recycle or reuse, she keeps prepaid trash bags from the City on hand.  

The Ecology Center Curbside Program, the City of Berkeley Plant Debris program, Bay Area Creative Reuse, and Goodwill are the recycling programs she uses regularly. A Bank of America consulting system engineer who telecommutes a few days a week, she also recycles at work and when ever possible uses her own containers for deli take-out and cloth bags for shopping and other errands. 

The Cash for Trash Contest is an outreach project of the Ecology Center and the City of Berkeley, funded by the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board.  

Since February, we have awarded $3,900 to Berkeley residents for recycling well, and have another $2,600 to distribute before the contest ends in mid-July. Limited to Berkeley residents, employees of sponsoring organizations are not eligible nor are building of 10 units or more. 

For official rules and more information visit or call the Ecology Center Recycling Hotline at 527-5555