Why Too Much Recycling is Bad for Berkeley

By Jessica Greene
|  Tuesday, Feb 9, 2010  |  Updated 2:15 PM PDT
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Last week, Berkeley officials said the biggest chunk of their $10 million deficit for 2009 was the decline in refuse revenues -- a dent of $4 million.

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What's good for the environment is not always good for the bottom line. At least that's what the city of Berkeley is finding out.

Last week, Berkeley officials said the biggest chunk of their $10 million deficit for 2009 was the decline in refuse revenues -- a dent of $4 million.

That means there are too many Berkeleyans living up to their reputation of being Earth-loving recyclers. The upswing in recycling also means a downsizing of trash cans. Berkeley still does its own garbage and recycling pickup and they charge by the size of the bins.

With so many residents using their recycle bins -- which are picked up for no fee -- and sizing down their city trash cans, the deficit is piling higher, the Chronicle notes.

"The whole business model for recycling and garbage has been to incentivize recycling," Andrew Clough, the city's deputy director of public works told the paper. "We're going to have to do a new business model."

City leaders are rethinking their approach to garbage collection and will take up the matter at a Tuesday meeting.

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