It’s time to replace some of Berkeley’s old recycling carts! PLUS new lid colors

Image of an Ecology Center truck driver in high vis loading a recycling cart into an Ecology Center hauling truck. Cart is mid air.

Dear Neighbor,

Thank you for being great recyclers! With your help, Berkeley is a leading recycler that produces high-quality, higher value materials diverted from household waste. Together we can fight back against pollution, regional ecosystem destruction, and the global climate crisis.

The City of Berkeley has approved a phased program to replace older residential recycling carts serviced by the Ecology Center. This replacement project is funded by the City of Berkeley’s Zero Waste Division/Public Works Department through the Ecology Center’s Residential Curbside Recycling Services City Contract.

Your cart will be replaced if you receive a copy of this letter in the mail. The map below displays neighborhoods where carts will be replaced during this phase.  

Map of Berkeley with dots in neighborhoods: between Shattuck and College, south of Dwight; between Fourth St and San Pablo, south of Cedar St; and between Fourth St and MLK Jr Way, South of University.

In adherence to California’s Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383), residential recycling carts now uniformly sport blue lids, replacing the previous brown/blue scheme. While both lids will be blue henceforth, identifying the correct compartment for recycling will be facilitated through labels on the top of each cart. These labels will denote whether the compartment is designated for containers or paper products, streamlining recycling segregation efforts and promoting environmental sustainability.

A recycling cart lid viewed from the top. Though it is a split lid, both sides are blue, with one side labeled "Paper & Cardboard" and the other "Cans & Bottles"

Carts are scheduled to be replaced during 05/09/2024 and 05/31/2024. 

For more information on recycling in Berkeley visit our recycling resource site,, or the City of Berkeley Zero Waste Services Site,

Also, please sign up via email for future recycling updates at,  and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Thank you for Recycling!

The Ecology Center

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8 thoughts on “It’s time to replace some of Berkeley’s old recycling carts! PLUS new lid colors

  1. Are you kidding? All these recycling bins are in perfectly good usable shape. It would appear that they might be only cosmetically slightly aged. Why in the world are you replacing these? And infinitely more importantly, what are you doing with all these perfectly serviceable plastic bins? Are these actually ending up in landfills?

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Good questions-

      This phase of the cart replacement is not replacing all of the carts in Berkeley, only about 3,000.

      Though these recycling carts may seem like they’re usable, many of the carts used by Berkeley residents are past their expected lifespan of 10 years, leading to increasing breakage rates.These older carts are becoming unsuitable for repair as their components are not compatible with those of newer generation carts currently in the field. On top of this, because older carts are more prone to breakage, the brittle carts become a safety issue for our drivers.

      All replaced carts will be recycled properly, ensuring that materials are processed in an environmentally responsible manner. This initiative not only updates the cart fleet but also contributes to our community’s sustainability efforts.

  2. The replacement we received is much lower volume than the separate bottle and cardboard bins. How can we avoid the downgrade? We fill up both bins most months and would need at least an equal replacement. If all the new bins are half and half then we should receive two.

    • Hi Brad, I’ve cc’d you in a message to our recycling team to let them know you need an additional cart. If you don’t see the message or have additional requests, please call our recycling hotline at 510-527-5555. Thank you.

  3. How do I get one more bin? My complex has two units but only received one new bin. And what to do with exiting ones? Thx

    • Hi Charlie, I’ve cc’d you in a message to our recycling team to let them know you need an additional cart.

      The existing cart can be left at the curb on your next collection day to be picked up. If your collection day has already passed or if you did not receive the email, please contact the recycling hotline at 510-527-5555. Thank you.

  4. Why is it only people in the flats that need their bins replaced? Why are our’s considered needing replacing?

    you’ve also removed our apartment’s bigger bins and replaced with these smaller half and half ones that don’t fit half of the stuff my neighbors get from Amazon. We are good about flattening everything so we can all fit our boxes. But there’s no room now. Everything goes in vertically and fills up instantly. Instead you give us twice as many bins? That’s not a solution.

    • Hi K. D, I’ve cc’d you on a message with our recycling team to let them know you need separate carts rather than split carts. If you didn’t receive this message, please call our recycling hotline at 510-527-5555.

      In regards to the excess cardboard, you and your neighbor can leave a 3ft. X 2ft. X 1ft. bundle of cardboard secured with tape or string next to your cart for collection.

      As to why these carts are being replaced, it is because carts in these neighborhoods are beyond their 10 year life span which means we are not able to get parts to fix them and they are brittle and could potentially be hazardous to drivers. This cart replacement is just one phase of an ongoing effort to replace old carts in Berkeley.

      I hope this information is helpful. Thanks.

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