UC Berkeley

City of Berkeley Urges Disposal Precautions as UC Students Move Out

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Even though the University of California at Berkeley campus has been largely empty since the novel coronavirus shelter order was issued in March, many students have returned this weekend to move out of residences with the end of spring semester instruction on Friday.

The annual ritual typically involves leaving large amounts of discarded mattresses and furniture at curbside and Berkeley officials are reminding tenants and landlords to plan and properly dispose of items no longer needed during the move.

The annual appeal has new meaning this year as the city seeks to keep sanitation workers safe from possible COVID-19 transmission.

"Dumping mattresses and other items on the sidewalk creates a mess and doesn't promote reuse," the city said in an announcement, asking that mattress recyclers be used for disposal.

Fines for illegal dumping can reach up to $1,000 a day, the city warns.

Tenants should use a building's trash bin, the city advises, and if those are full, properties with one to four units can schedule a free bulk waste pickup.

Another option is purchasing prepaid city trash bags that can be left at the curb for pickup by the city's Zero Waste Division. Up to 10 bags can be left at curbside for pickup.

Pre-paid bags, bulk waste pickup or scheduling of a short-term trash bin or extra pickup services are available by calling 311 or (510) 981-2489.

Items left at curbside in garbage bags will not be collected. Items or bags of materials and up to 2 mattresses, box springs, or futons can for free at the Berkeley Transfer Station at 1201 Second St. "When visiting the Transfer Station, everyone must wear a mask and follow social distancing protocols for the protection of themselves and workers," the city says.

Recyclable items should be put in the curbside bin.

Items that can't be recycled at curbside should be taken to the Berkeley Recycling Center at 669 Gilman St. The center is currently operating with limited drop offs, so check its site at http://berkeleyrecycling.org/ for current information on what is accepted.

To keep refuse workers safe, the city says precautions should be used. Refuse and recycling materials should fit inside the cart with the lid closed completely. All trash in the refuse cart should be inside a closed plastic bag. If boxes are too big to fit inside a cart, break them down and cut them apart.

"Wash your hands before and after putting your containers out for collection," the city says. "Sanitize or wipe the handles and lids to further reduce exposure."

Because workers sort recycled materials by workers, it is important to only put recyclable materials in your bin and not items such as tissues, paper towels, wipes, masks, or latex gloves; food and liquids; or any cleaning materials used for COVID-19 cleaning.

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