Thanks to your recent efforts, it is clear that the Ecology Center has broad and passionate community support. We are making progress in our negotiations, but the future of the Ecology Center’s Recycling Program remains uncertain. Please come to the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 29 at 5:30 and let the City Council know that you support the continuation of the Ecology Center’s Recycling Program.
Last fall, the City Manager hired a consultant to review Berkeley’s solid waste program and recommend actions to close a budget deficit of $3 million. At the March 8th City Council meeting, the consultant presented his report, which included the recommendation that the City of Berkeley terminate the Ecology Center’s curbside recycling program and have the City run the curbside recycling operation instead. The report was deemed incomplete and inaccurate by many of the constituents present, including the Zero Waste Commission and several solid waste consultants who reviewed it. The Ecology Center is adamant that the termination of our recycling contract will not result in the savings that the consultant claims, and will instead lead to continued budget deficits, a decline in customer service, and the loss of an outstanding community program.
The Current Situation
Last week, the Ecology Center’s recycling committee met with the City of Berkeley’s senior management to discuss the deficit and realistic ways to cut costs. Among other strategies, we explored the idea of single-driver routes and passing cost savings on to the City. At the special session before the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 29th, the City Manager will share his recommendations with the City Council.
We do not know what all of those recommendations will be, but we want to be prepared for any outcome. Your presence at this meeting will be very valuable. If you are a Berkeley resident who has appreciated our services and programs over the years, please come to the City Council Meeting and let it be known.
P.S. If you cannot make it to the City Council Meeting, click here for other meaningful actions that you can take. At the same link, you can read more details about our current contract, flaws in the consultant’s report, and the benefits of nonprofit recycling.