In response to the concern expressed by Terry Cochrell in his letter to Councilmember Linda Maio and the Daily Planet on July 16 regarding refuse and recycling services provided to apartment buildings: We appreciate his concern and this opportunity to remind everyone in Berkeley about how to obtain recycling and refuse collection services.
Individual tenants living in apartment buildings with nine or fewer units, as well as occupants of private residences, can contact the Ecology Center to have new or replacement recycling bins delivered to their door by calling 527-5555. Tenants living in apartment buildings with 10 or more units can contact the city’s Solid Waste Management Division at 981-6350 to ask that the owner of their building be contacted about recycling services and replacement bins. The City charges no additional fees for providing the recycling carts and service to apartment buildings. Last year the Division mailed letters regarding recycling to the owners of all 650 apartment buildings in Berkeley, and received only 20 replies. Many apartment owners live outside Berkeley, may own many buildings, and might never respond to correspondence requesting assistance with recycling on their properties. However, we will continue to reach out to owners of larger apartment buildings to encourage their participation.
Apartment owners are required, however, by the Berkeley Municipal Code to provide refuse collection services and pay for adequately-sized garbage collection bins. The cost of refuse service is directly related to the size of the refuse bin and the collection frequency. The City encourages recycling by offering significant rate saving to those who produce less garbage. Unfortunately, this can have the unwanted effect of encouraging some property owners to under subscribe to garbage service just to save money. When the Division learns, either by complaint or by reports from the refuse collectors, that a business or apartment has subscribed to an inadequate level of service (bins too small, or collection too infrequent), staff initiates a process by which the property owner will be forced to subscribe to an adequate level of service as required by Berkeley Municipal Code. Please call the Solid Waste Management Division Customer Service at 981-6350 so that a field inspection can be scheduled.
Rene Cardinaux, A.I.A.
Director of Public Work