Being Too Green Could Cost Berkeley

By Jessica Greene
|  Monday, Mar 29, 2010  |  Updated 12:54 PM PDT
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Despite its green reputation, Berkeley may start charging homes and businesses a fee to recycle.

The city encouraged recycling by offering free pickup but now, the move is costing the city and it may ultimatly end up coming out of residents' pockets.

Berkeley still does its own garbage and recycling pickup and they charge by the size of the bins, but people are tossing out less these days, so many have shifted to smaller trash can sizes. The upswing in recycling also means a downsizing of trash cans. The result? Less money for the city.

Last year, the city increased garbage fees by more than 20 percent but with less going into those bins and the trend in recycling continuing to grow, the city is looking for ways to make ends meet.

Another factor in the great Berkeley garbage debate is the value of recycled goods. Reusables just aren't as valuable as they once were. The Chronicle points out major drops in values for paper and aluminium over the past year.

City leaders want to raise $1.5 million dollars to make up for $4 million in lost revenue and help fill the $35 million refuse fund.

The plan will be debated over the next couple of months and will return to the City Council's meeting schedule in May.

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