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Recycling guidelines in Berkeley

1. Size matters

A general rule is that any object smaller than your fist, should NOT go into the blue recycling cart. It could cause problems on the recycling sorting line. Loose, metal bottle caps are an exception. Leave a plastic bottle cap screwed onto the bottle, and if it's a loose cap, place it in the grey landfill cart.

2. Mixed materials

Any item that is made of multiple materials, like plastic and metal, bonded together, is NOT recyclable. It goes into landfill. Plastic mixed with any other material, in one object, is not recyclable. If the object can be separated into its different materials, those separate materials might be recyclable. Size matters. Disposable razors (bonded plastic and metal) are a good example,…not recyclable.

3. Health hazard

If it is toxic, or can be harmful to health, it is not recyclable. If it contained a hazardous material (gasoline, paint, insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers, batteries, aerosol cans, etc.), it should go to a HHW (Household Hazardous Waste) facility. Sharps, syringes and needles, should go to a HHW (Household Hazardous Waste) facility. Objects that have contained blood, or human or pet waste, are toxic and should be properly disposed of, as infectious medical waste.

4. Plastic bottles

There is still a good market for #1, #2, and #5 plastic bottles. Place these in the blue recycling cart.

5. “Compostable” plastic, #7 plastic, or PLA labeled materials

These materials are not petroleum-based plastics. They will contaminate the #1, #2 & #5 plastic recycling. Place these items in the green cart. Not all #7 plastics are PLA, so please ensure your foodware is BPI certified compostable (https://bpiworld.org) before placing it in your green cart. This includes bags, utensils, and takeout food containers from restaurants, among other items. Learn more at Everyday Recycler (https://everydayrecycler.com/plastic-number-7/#:~:text=It%20will%20not%20break%20down,recyclable%20plastics%20and%20cause%20issues).

6. Glass, metal, and clean paper

These recycled materials still have good markets, and we have been successful in finding buyers for them. Mirrors, window glass, drinking glasses, and bakeware are not recyclable. Glass bottles and jars, are recyclable. Leave metal caps and lids attached. Landfill plastic caps.

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