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New Program Offers Free New Program Offers Free Hazardous Waste Curbside Pickup By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday March 29, 2005

Many Berkeley residents looking for a cheap and easy way to dispose of computer monitors, televisions, herbicides or other toxic substances lying around their house can now have the items picked up at their doorstep. 

Through a $120,000 state grant the city will provide the hazardous waste pick-up service for eligible residents through next March. 

The service, which started last week, is open to seniors, the disabled, low-income households (income under $52,000), and households without a car. A $10 co-pay is required. 

“We’ve found that Berkeley has a lot of eccentrics who collect interesting stuff,” said Berkeley Hazardous Materials Manager Nabil Al-Hadithy, explaining why the city applied for the grant. “We get a lot of calls from realtors saying there’s a bunch of vile stuff in here.” 

Acceptable hazardous waste includes paints, herbicides, aerosols, batteries, oil filters, pesticides, antifreeze, televisions, computer monitors, circuit boards, mercury and other chemicals. The program does not cover explosives, fire extinguishers, gas cylinders, radioactive materials, ammunition, or any containers that are unlabeled or more than five gallons. 

Although California last year passed a law requiring residents to dispose properly of unwanted computer monitors and televisions, Al-Hadithy said Berkeley must still contend with residents who leave the items on the curb. 

“The public works department picks them up at a tremendous cost,” he said. Hazardous waste picked up in Berkeley is hauled off to a county hazardous waste facility, the closest one of which is in Oakland. 

The city encourages eligible residents to call 1-800-449-7587 to learn more about the program and schedule a pick up. For residents who don’t qualify, the Alameda County Computer Resource Center will dispose of monitors for $10, televisions for $15, and computers for $5 at their Berkeley location, 1501 Eastshore Highway. Computer monitor and television drop-offs are free on Fridays. The agency will schedule pick-ups for a minimum cost of $500.i