Department of Public Works
Department of Public Works

PLANT DEBRIS & FOOD WASTE COLLECTION & HOME COMPOSTING

HOLIDAY TREES: If possible, cut up your holiday tree to fit in your green cart for your normal weekly compost collection. If that is not possible, you can place your holiday tree at the curb on your normal collection day during the month of January. Trees left at the curb must be cut to a maximum of 5 feet tall. Trees left at the curb may be picked-up by a separate truck, during the week they are set-out. If we do not service your tree during the week it was set-out, call 311 to report a holiday tree at the curb. 

You may also choose to drop your holiday tree off at the City’s Transfer Station (1201 2nd St.) at no charge during the month of January. Businesses and residents who normally don’t have compost collection can call 311 (or 510-981-7270) to schedule a tree pick-up at the curb. After January you can cut up your tree to fit in your plant debris cart, or you can bring it to the Berkeley Transfer Station for the minimum compost fee of $23.   

  • Please remove: all lights, decorations, tinsel, plastic bags and plastic tree stands.
  • We will collect flocked trees, but they are not compostable, so please avoid flocking.
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WEEKLY RESIDENTIAL ORGANICS COLLECTION: The City of Berkeley provides weekly residential organics collection for plant debris and food scraps. This is included with your refuse service and limited to a single 32 or 64 gallon green rollcart, serviced at the curb, per paid residential refuse account. Carts containing materials weighing over 130 lbs. will not be serviced, and the resident will have to unload contents to remove overweight materials. 

PLANT MATERIALS ACCEPTED INCLUDE: Grass clippings, leaves, pruning, brush, garden trimmings, vegetables and fruit, palm fronds, unpainted/untreated wood. 

  • All materials must fit inside cart with the lid closed.
  • Branches must be smaller than 3" in diameter and less than 3' long.
  • Please shake dirt off roots. Dirt impedes the composting process and makes collection carts very heavy.
  • DO NOT INCLUDE: pet feces, cat litter, dirt, rocks, concrete, logs or stumps.

KITCHEN SCRAPS ACCEPTED INCLUDE:

  • All food scraps - including fruits, vegetables, meat, bones, & cheese.
  • Food Soiled Paper – including paper towels, napkins, pizza boxes, milk cartons (with any plastic parts removed) wax paper and waxed cardboard.
  • Clearly marked BPI Certified compostable plastics.
  • BPI Certified compostable plastic bags, or paper bags used as a pail liner, are accepted in the green cart.
  • DO NOT INCLUDE: glass, metal, plastic, aseptic containers (foil-lined soup or soy cartons), or any other non-organic material.
  • To order a kitchen pail for food scraps: Contact Refuse Customer Service.

Composting your food scraps is easy!

Collect food scraps in your pail.
pailYou may choose to line your pail with paper or compostable plastic bags.

Empty pail into your green cart and set at the curb on your collection day

empty

EXTRA PLANT DEBRIS: Residential customers who occasionally have extra plant debris can purchase Prepaid Plant Debris Bags at the Customer Service Center and the Transfer Station. Prepaid Plant Debris Bags can also be purchased at any Berkeley Fire Station. The Fire Stations only accept checks (with ID) and are available for Plant Debris Bag sales daily from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Only these special City of Berkeley prepaid bags will be collected, as their rate includes service and processing. Prepaid Plant Debris Bags must be at curb for service on next scheduled service day. Customers are limited to 10 pre-paid bags per week, and each bag must not weigh more than 60 lbs. Please do not set bags out at the curb early in wet weather.

TRUCKLOAD QUANTITIES: Bring large quantities of plant debris to the City of Berkeley Transfer Station at 1201 2nd Street. Loads that contain only compostable materials are charged a discounted rate.

Compostable material includes: plant debris, pruning, unpainted untreated wood (nails are ok), pallets, unpainted sheet rock, waxed cardboard, food scraps, food soiled papers, and BPI certified compostable serviceware and bags

Self-haul compostable material cannot include: plywood, painted wood, treated wood, plastic bags, trash, dirt, or other non-organic materials..

See Transfer Station for current days and hours of operation, and holiday closures.

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BACKYARD COMPOSTING

Backyard composting and plant debris collection programs are designed to complement each other.  For more information about home composting call "The Rotline" at (510) 444-SOIL or (510) 444-7645 or, follow the link to the Alameda County Waste Management Authority web site.

COMPOST FOR BERKELEY RESIDENTS

The City's Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department offers free compost for Berkeley residents on the last Saturday of each month from February through October, weather permitting. For complete details, see the annual flyer from Parks about this program: Free Compost for Berkeley Residents.

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Department of Public Works, 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: publicworks@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-6300
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903
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