Why We Can’t Recycle Our Way Out of Plastic Pollution and What We Can Do About It

Plastic Pollution has become one of the more pressing environmental issues, as rapidly increasing production of disposable plastics product overwhelms the world’s ability to properly collect discarded plastics.   SOURCE: National Geographic


What is Plastic Pollution?

Plastic Pollution is the accumulation of synthetic plastic products to the point that it creates problems for the health of wildlife and their habitats as well for human populations.


A Whopping 91 Percent of Plastic Isn’t Recycled”

                            – Source: National Geographic


Plastic is proving dangerous to our planet, health, and wildlife, and is a rapidly growing segment of municipal solid waste (MSW). While plastics are found in all major MSW categories, the containers and packaging category had the most plastic tonnage at over 14.5 million tons in 2018, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  In 2018, landfills received 27 million tons of plastic. This was 18.5 percent of all MSW landfilled.

SOURCE: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


We Can’t Recycle Our Way Out of Plastic Pollution

Help end plastic pollution. Learn more from a presentation and discussion during a RecycleMore Board Meeting on September 8, 2022 with Martin Bourque, Executive Director at the Ecology Center, on the topic of “We Can’t Recycle Our Way Out of Plastic Pollution”.

This presentation is an educational process of learning about the plastics food chains and highlighting of what is truly happening in recycling and bringing matters to light. The Ecology Center has been keeping an eye on and tracking of where plastics goes and what happens to it.

Plastic packaging has taken over the recycling process. Not everything is recyclable. There are only two types of plastics* that can be actively sorted and recycled.

*CalRecycle recently did a Statewide Commission on Recycling Markets and Curbside Recycling Report. From this study, it was determined, what types of plastic were recyclable and not recyclable.

Only two types of plastics were identified as recyclable with a total of 15 items:

#1 – PET Plastics used for beverage containers such as water bottles.

#2 – HDPE Plastics used for containers such as milk, juice, laundry detergent and cleaners, etc. 


Where does the plastic go?

Martin shows the path of a shipment of mixed, low-grade, non-bottle, plastic container bales from the San Francisco Bay area to Guangdong Province, China, informal sector area for plastic processing. This was eventually brought to a recycling facility, which was an auction yard. Materials were auctioned off bale by bale and put on pickup trucks which were brought to smaller facilities and backyards of people where family businesses were then to sort the items. Because of the environmental degradation to such an extent of air and water pollution, these facilities were closed by the government.Processing then quickly moved to other countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia, with no infrastructure to manage the materials properly.

These plastics are like sponges for toxins that can get into the soil of agriculture fields because of the informal nature of facilities with materials not contained and managed properly. This becomes organic pollutants, and now into the food systems, cause extreme health impacts and issues. And, when the rain pours, a lot of the materials get washed into the rivers which ends up in the oceans and causes more problems.


Markets for plastics?

Finding markets for exporting plastic waste is very challenging. If there are any markets, they are very limited and most likely are not regulated. This is a problem and will continue to cause harm to our planet, our health, and wildlife. The plastic industry is saying all the plastics is recyclable and to collect it all. Unfortunately, the burden is put on waste management agencies, waste haulers, and municipalities.

Mexico has become largely a market to take plastics, however, they most likely are making cement from these materials. When plastic (and other materials) are burned at unregulated cement kilns to make cement and cheap energy, it undercuts recycling efforts and worsens air quality and is like “moving the landfill from the ground to the sky”.  Most of the fuels used in the cement manufacturing process, emit planet-warming gases. This is a direct link, in addition of methane being produced, to climate change.


What to do with all the plastic?

The cost to bring plastic materials to the recycling centers, sort, and dispose of it can be expensive. Therefore, a decision needs to be made to only collect the items that are truly recyclable and marketable. This will also save on processing costs. Consumers need to be more educated on what is recyclable and what is not recyclable. For the plastic items that are not recyclable, they should go to the landfills rather then dumped and burned in other markets and nations.



Martin Bourque is the Executive Director at the Ecology Center in Berkeley, California. Martin has led Ecology Center since 2000 and has leveraged local direct community service program to have state and national impact.  Under Martin’s leadership, he has led the Ecology Center to become a high impact engine for change with grassroots effort. The Ecology Center is a nonprofit organization that focuses on improving the health and the environmental impacts of urban residents. Their mission is to inspire and build sustainable, healthy, and just future for the East Bay area and beyond.

Martin can be reached at [email protected].



1) Video Presentation:  Video – Length 1:04:15.16 seconds



2) PPT Presentation



3) Other Articles

Recycling plastic is practically impossible, and the problem is getting worse (From NPR)

We never got good at recycling plastic. Some states are trying a new approach (From NPR)

Reduce Holiday Waste with These Precycling Ideas

With the holidays around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan and prepare for the coming festivities. This season, RecycleMore is sharing tips and tricks you need to precycle your way through the holidays. “Precycling” is the act of making a choice to avoid single-use products and instead buy reusable, unpackaged, or recyclable products. Read for more information on exploring precycling through decorations, holiday meals, gifts, and more.

1) Holiday Decorations
Decorations are an essential and exciting part of all holiday festivities! This year, consider visiting your local thrift store to help bring the holiday spirit. Visiting neighborhood online reuse groups such as Facebook Marketplace, Buy Nothing, or Nextdoor are also wonderful alternatives to thrifting your way through the holidays.  Getting creative with your friends and family and giving new life to used clothing and materials is a wonderful way to build community, host a series of art activities, and incorporate sustainability practices in your home!

2) Holiday Meals
Unsure what dish you are going to delight your guest with this holiday dinner? Try getting inspiration from the ingredients you have at home! According to the USDA, around 40% of food purchased for holiday meals is thrown out yearly. Emphasizing on foods you have readily available at home not only saves money but saves the planet too. Planning and making a list before you shop for your holiday meals can help ensure that you only buy what you need. Additionally, having reusable containers for your family and friends is a perfect way to ensure leftovers have a second life as a to-go care package.

For healthy holiday recipes, check out Urban Tilth’s recipe page at Urbantilth.org/recipe. Be sure to also check out food sustainability sites like savethefood.com, stopfoodwaste.org, stilltasty.org  to find recipes and storage suggestions that extend the freshness of your food.

3) Holiday Gifts & Packaging
Paper grocery bags, newspaper, fabric, and reusable gift bags are a perfect way to wrap your presents and save money on wrapping paper. Gifts that are durable or can be handed down generationally are excellent ways to ensure your gifts are thoughtful, sustainable, and perfect for your loved ones.


Precycling is one way to help reduce your holiday waste. Keep these ideas and others in mind when planning, preparing, and shopping for your holiday activities.


Happy Holidays!


Reduce Your Junk Mail in Just 5 Minutes

Junk mail may seem like just a nuisance cluttering up your mailbox, but all those catalogs and ads take a toll on the environment. 

More than 100 million trees’ worth of bulk mail arrive in American mailboxes.

Where does it end up?

You may think you don’t have time to tackle that pile of credit card offers and coupons on the kitchen table, but here are two simple ways you can cut down on the bulk of your junk mail in just minutes. These two options are online services you can use to have your name removed from catalog, credit card lists, and other database lists.

Option 1: CatalogChoice

After you join this free website (not an app), simply search for the type of junk mail you are already being marketed to and want to avoid: catalog, credit card offers, phone book, or charity donation request. Pick a mailing option (no delivery, delivery two or four times a year, etc.), and CatalogChoice will send the request to the company for you. Your CatalogChoice dashboard lists the companies and organizations they have contacted and updates you when a company has confirmed your request – so you don’t have to keep track of all that information yourself. Since Catalog Choice is a non-profit organization, unaffiliated with the mail marketing industry, they accept donations to keep this service going.

Anyone who wants to manage their junk mail through a website, doesn’t have a smartphone or wants to support a nonprofit junk-mail-reduction service.

Option 2: PaperKarma

Much like CatalogChoice, PaperKarma forwards a request to the companies sending you junk mail and monitors all your requests for you. But, while CatalogChoice only operates as a website, PaperKarma is a free app, available for Android, iOS and Windows smartphones. However, they have the free option is limited, and allows you only 4 free submissions. Then, at that point, you will be prompted to pay for the subscription and offers 4 different pricing options from monthly, 6 months, annually, or lifetime. The process to submit a request is convenient and fast: Just snap a photo of your address on the piece of junk mail, and PaperKarma will take care of the rest.

The smartphone addict, the super busy person that wants to save time and someone that likes to use smartphone applications.

With whichever service you choose, remember to be patient in your quest to reduce your junk mail: It may take a few months to start seeing results, since many mailing labels are printed ahead of time.


Event Recap: Earth Day 2022 Activities in North Richmond

On Saturday, April 23, 2022, RecycleMore staff, Andy Schneider and April Canavan, joined The Richmond Community Housing Developing Corporation (CHDC), Urban Tilth, and The Watershed Project for an Earth Day Wildcat Creek Cleanup and school path painting project. The event was well attended with over 50 volunteers assisting with the various projects.

The creek clean-up began with a recognition of the former indigenous stewards of the land and a safety training.


Wildcat Creek runs right along Verde Elementary School. The creek had numerous accumulations of illegal dumping and litter that had flowed downstream. The volunteers cleared the trash from many of these areas, preventing it from making its way to the Bay.





The collected trash and bulky items nearly filled a large debris box, donated by Republic Services.












Student volunteers from Verde Elementary School cleaned and painted the sidewalk to beautify and promote Safe Routes to School.


At the end of the Earth Day Celebration, all of the partners were presented with certificates from District 1 Supervisor John Gioia and Richmond Mayor Tom Butt for their Earth Day efforts. The volunteers were given special Earth Day reusable shopping bags which included information on environmental programs and actions as well as a RecycleMore reusable water bottle.


Thank you to Victor Jimenez, Tania Pulido, and Janie Holland from the CHDC for organizing this great event!




5 Tips to Live More Sustainably in Your Everyday Life!

April is Earth Month – Learn how to live a sustainable lifestyle during the month of April and all year long. Our planet is home to over 8 million living species. According to NASA scientists, human activities (primarily the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas) have fundamentally increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change all over the world. It is vital that humans work together with the natural environment in order to live sustainably and preserve biodiversity for future generations. The issue of climate change globally is complex, but there are many small changes you can make in your daily life that will reduce the overall carbon footprint.

Here are some helpful lifestyle sustainable tips, inspired from the Common Wanderer Blog:

  • Thrift shop and buy used, second-hand, clothing.
  • Invest in sustainable quality clothing brands that last for years.
  • Reduce the need to purchase new clothes.

It takes a lot of resources to produce new clothing, so it is much better to buy things second-hand and consider shopping more sustainably.

According to Earth.org, the fast fashion industry consumes a huge amount of water, around 93 billion cubic meters, and much of it is contaminated by toxic chemicals. It takes 2,720 liters of water (as much as you’d drink in a three-year period) to make one T-shirt. Your favorite pair of jeans? It takes almost 10,000 liters of water into producing them and dying them blue. A big reason why these seemingly simple clothing garments use so much water is because they’re made from cotton. Cotton is the largest user of water among all agricultural commodities – it takes 20,000 liters just to produce one kilogram of cotton.

The increase in demand on fast fashion have increased so much that 60% of clothing fabric is made from plastic-based materials like polyester and acrylic, because it is cheap to manufacture and is durable, which makes polyester the world’s most frequently used plastic material in textile production. Polyester is closely related to the oil industry; It is a byproduct of petroleum production (plastic), so it never truly breaks down. The trouble with this type of fabric is that when it is washed, it releases very small plastic fibers that pass through the wastewater filtration systems into our rivers and oceans. With this process, clothing produces half a million tons of microplastics each year, according to Concordia University.

Your best option is to buy used clothes and donate your unwanted clothing and/or buy quality sustainable clothing (if/when you choose to buy new).

Watch this Tedx Talks video with Breton Lorway about the impact of consumer goods in the environment: Saving the Environment from Consumerism

  • Invest in a reusable water bottle.
  • Say no to single-use plastic utensils/straws and bring your own bag to the store.
  • Choose zero waste toiletries, like solid shampoo bars, safety razors, etc.

It is challenging to reduce your plastic consumption when most of the products purchased are sold and packaged in plastic material. As a consumer, you can start in small ways – for example, buying a reusable water bottle and stop purchasing plastic water bottles, or bringing your own bag to the grocery store. Consider adopting a Zero-Waste Lifestyle. According to Center for EcoTechnology, Zero-Waste is a movement to reduce the amount one consumes and consequently throws away. This lifestyle is one of the most sustainable ways of living because it reduces pollution and the number of materials sent to the landfill. Zero-Waste lifestyles have recently become popular and has opened up people’s eyes on how much plastic waste is around the world.

Watch this Tedx Talks video with Lauren Singer about living a Zero-Waste life: Why I Live a Zero Waste Life

  • Eat one plant-based meal a day for a year; It will save almost 200,000 gallons of water!
  • Find plant-based alternatives staple food items (i.e. plant-based milk, yogurt, and creamer).
  • Transform favorite dishes (i.e. pizza, pasta, and stir-fry) to include more veggies.

Going fully vegetarian or vegan is difficult if meat is a regular part of your diet, but you can start small. Vegetables are not only very nutritious and essential to a balanced diet, but also do not require as many resources to grow and harvest. On the other hand, raising livestock is more complicated – it requires animal feed, takes up more habitable land, and cows produce methane gas emissions, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. It is important to incorporate more vegetables into your diet and to reduce your meat consumption because it will make a difference for the environment and your health.

Watch this educational video from Vox, about cutting down your meat consumption:  The Diet that Helps Fight Climate Change

  • Have a well-thought-out meal plan and buy only what you need.
  • Freeze excess produce and add it to your food while cooking. Old veggies still make for good soups, stews, and curries.
  • Freezing leftover perishable ingredients can also increase the longevity of your food, so they are fresh when you are ready to use them.
  • Compost leftover or unused food.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2021 Report “From Farm to Kitchen: The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste”, one-third of the food produced, in the United States, is never eaten, wasting the resources used to produce it and creating a myriad of environmental impacts. Food waste that ends up in the landfills also generates potent greenhouse gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide, causes climate change and have global warming potentials 25 times greater than carbon dioxide. Fruits and vegetables are the most wasted foods, followed by dairy and eggs. Food waste is the single most common material landfilled and incinerated in the U.S. comprising 24 and 22 percent of landfilled and combusted municipal solid waste, respectively.

The average American family wastes $1,866 of food annually, according to Stop Food Waste Day.  Visit Stop Food Waste Day Website to take the pledge and to learn more about how to reduce your food waste.

For more information, watch this video from Our Changing Climate on food waste and climate change: Our Changing Climate – Food Waste causes Climate Change. Here’s how we stop it.


There are many educational books, websites, and podcasts you can reference to continue to educate yourself. Hopefully these will inspire you, your family, and friends, to never stop learning and to make a difference.



Living Planet

The topics of these weekly podcasts are environmental stories from around the world.  And for this episode, “Climate Misinformation: How Do We Tackle It?”.



A Sustainable Mind

A Sustainable Mind is a podcast series created for the earth-conscious individual. The topic of this podcast is “A Sustainable Mind – Environment & Sustainability Podcast”, by Marjorie Alexander



Resources Radio

Resources Radio is a weekly podcast that features interviews with researchers and leading experts about climate change, energy, ecosystems, and more.




Here is a list from “Earthwatch.org” of 23 must read science books about the environment chosen by Earthwatch scientists.

Here is a list from “We Are Teachers” of 42 books for Earth Day to inspire children.



Sustainable living is becoming more of a mainstream philosophy which a person takes to actively make a practical change and positively impacts climate change and environmental issues. You can learn a lot from people from what they are doing and how they are making an impact. Simply shifting your lifestyle in a way to consume and waste less products will make a huge difference.

Here is a list of eco-friendly blogs you might want to consider following.


Local Environmental Stewardship

This Earth Month and beyond, take the time to evaluate your current lifestyle and ask yourself if you are incorporating the tips above. It starts with YOU! If you are ready to take another step toward environmental stewardship, below is a list of some Earth Month events happening during the month of April in the West Contra Costa County area:


  1. Richmond Greenway Gardens Earth Day Celebration

Saturday, April 23, 2022:  10 am – 2 pm | Unity Park Plaza, 1605 Ohio Ave, Richmond, CA 94804

Come celebrate Earth Day with Urban Tilth, Groundwork Richmond, and more! There will be many activities for the entire family, including mural painting, planting a flower garden, beautifying playgrounds, building free fruit tree stands for the edible forest, watershed swale planting, and weeding.

Register HERE


  1. San Pablo Earth Day Creek Cleanup Event

Saturday, April 23, 2022: 10 am – 12 noon | Wildcat Creek at Davis Park, 1655 Folsom Ave, San Pablo, CA 94806

FREE snacks and clean-up supplies will be provided. Please wear a mask and closed-toe shoes.

Call for more information: 510-215-3066


  1. North Richmond Wildcat Creek Clean-Up

Saturday, April 23, 2022: 9 am – 11 am | 1925 Fred Jackson Way, Richmond, CA 94801

Show your love for the earth by helping to restore Wildcat Creek. Join Urban Tilth, The Watershed Project, and friends and neighbors in removing trash and debris that harms wildlife, and learn about plans to restore the habitat for rainbow trout.

Register HERE


  1. City of El Cerrito Earth Day Week Work Celebrations

Week of April 23 and April 30, 2022

If you are celebrating Earth week and taking action whether in a group for out-door cleanups, work parties, or for yourself, visit the City of El Cerrito Earth Day Celebration to learn more about what you can do for any earth-friendly activity.


In addition, feel free to download this reference document and post to your refrigerator for these sustainable tips to keep handy all year long! [CLICK HERE]













How to Sell, Donate or Recycle Your Old Clothes, and Keep Them Out of Landfills

If everyone in the U.S. recycled their clothing and textiles for one year instead of throwing them away, it would save 30.6 million metric tons of carbon emissions. That’s the same as taking all the cars in Los Angeles off the road for one year. So how can you keep clothes out of the landfill? Here are your best options:



Are your unwanted clothes still valuable? For-profit secondhand stores are a quick and easy way to cash in. In addition to selling locally, there are also national chains, including Buffalo ExchangeClothes MentorCrossroads TradingOnce Upon a Child and Plato’s Closet . There are also a host of websites and applications that will help you sell or swap your old threads with just a few clicks on your smartphone, including eBayMercariPoshmarkswap.comthredUP, and Tradesy.

Here is a local consignment store in the RecycleMore jurisdiction that may be of consideration:

Joceannes Consignment

Address: 448 Valley View Rd Suite C, El Sobrante, CA 94803

Phone(510) 758-1200

Website: www.joyceannes.com


Donate for Reuse

If you think your clothes may not be new enough to sell, donating locally is an easy way to give your wardrobe future use. Check whether an organization takes only gently used items or items in any condition—they can easily be a one stop shop for all your old clothes. Many organizations that accept donated clothing for resale will also recycle clothes that are torn, stained, or worn, and will help keep them out of the landfill.

You have two choices when it comes to donating garments:

Non-profit organizations raise money for charitable causes. Goodwill, for example, uses the revenue from sales of donated clothing to fund job training programs for seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. Another benefit of this option is that your donation may be tax deductible. Goodwill has a PDF guide to help you estimate the value of your donation. Other national charities that accept clothing donations include The Salvation ArmySociety of St. Vincent de PaulVietnam Veterans of America and PlanetAid. If you want to know more about an organization before you donate, look it up on CharityWatch or Charity Navigator.

For-profit companies may donate a portion of their profits. Some major clothing retailers such as H&MLevi Strauss & Co. and The North Face encourage customers to bring back old clothes from any brand to their retail locations, so they can be reused or recycled.. Other for-profit clothing collectors include SaversCommunity Recycling and American Textile Recycling Service.

Here are some local thrift stores in the RecycleMore jurisdiction that may be of consideration:

Goodwill Stores & Donation Centers of the Eastbay

Goodwill – Richmond

Address: 12341 San Pablo Ave, Richmond, CA 94805

Phone(510) 965-1833


Goodwill – San Pablo Town Center

Address: 100A San Pablo Towne Center, San Pablo, CA 94806

Phone(510) 307-9886


Good Stuff Thrift Shop

Address: 10313 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530

Phone(510) 528-9455


Turnabout Thrift Shop

Address: 10052 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530

Phone(510) 525-7844


Treasure Hunt

Address: 1189 San Pablo Ave, Pinole, CA 94564

Phone(510) 506-1680


ReUse Station – El Cerrito

Drop off clothing at the El Cerrito Recycling Center ReUse Station trailers for reuse that is sold at local thrift stores. Proceeds support the El Cerrito Recycling Center programs. Acceptable items include clothing, small pieces of furniture, children’s toys, small countertop appliances, etc. Click here to find a detailed list of acceptable textile and clothing items for drop off. 


Use it Again – El Cerrito

The El Cerrito Recycling Center has USAagain bins available for drop off for textiles and clothing as well. Donated items are sent abroad. Acceptable items include clothes, shoes, tablecloths, towels, bedding, blankets, bedspreads, comforters, etc., in reusable condition. Click here to find out more information.



If your unwanted garments aren’t in good enough condition to be worn again, you can still keep them out of the landfill by recycling them. Many organizations that accept clothing for resale will also recycle clothes that are torn, stained or worn. Some major clothing recyclers include GoodwillThe Salvation ArmySociety of St. Vincent de PaulSaversBlue Jeans Go GreenAmerican Textile Recycling Service and USAgain.


Remember to Reduce

Another way you can help keep clothes out of the landfill is to consider buying secondhand and buying clothing that is ethically and sustainably made. The more we reduce our consumption in the first place, the less material we’re responsible for recycling, and helps the environment. And, buying secondhand helps makes us feel good about our actions,  helps the money stay in the economy, and supports the green living movement.

Here are some interesting facts around the Thrift Store Industry Statistics and Trends:

  • “The purchase of one used item instead of a new one can reduce its carbon footprint by up to 82%. If everyone would purchase just one used item in the next 12 months, it would save 11 billion kilowatts of energy, 25 billion gallons of water, and 449 million pounds of waste”. (Green Story)
  • The equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is either incinerated or landfilled every second of each day. That means there are 108 million tons of non-renewable resources used to produce clothing each year that will never see wear, accounting for up to 25% of the global carbon budget. (The Shelf)
  • “60% of consumers say that they would be more loyal to a specific brand if there was a recycling program offered as part of the experience.” (GlobalData)


Ripped, Stained, or Torn Clothing?

After repurposing your old clothing and they have reached their life expectancy, the best option is to throw the items in the trash. According to the Council for Textile Recycling, only about 10-20% of clothing that gets donated is sold by the donation organization because it is no longer in sellable condition. So, before you donate all your unwanted clothes at the nearest thrift shop, take the time to go through them to determine which will have the best chance of being resold.


Upcycling Plastic Waste into Jewelry with Harriete Estel Berman

On December 10, 2021, Craft in America, a Peabody award-winning series on PBS, will be airing an episode on jewelry, which will feature a Bay Area artist named Harriete Estel Berman who highlights the problems of plastic pollution through her work. She is now bringing attention to the environmental issues caused by plastic pollution by upcycling discarded plastic waste to make art and jewelry, including intricate bracelets. According to Berman, she uses “the humblest of materials taken from the waste stream of our society to examine the values of our society.”

Berman is a resident of San Mateo and has made a living through jewelry making, sculpting, and metalsmithing. Berman holds a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts (BFA) in Metalsmithing from Syracuse University and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from Tyler School of Art, Temple University.

To learn more about Harriete Estel Berman and her thought-provoking work, tune into PBS for the Jewelry episode on December 10th, from 9:00pm – 10:00pm or anytime via streaming on the Craft in America website here. To view more of Berman’s amazing post-consumer recycled plastic collection creations, you can visit her website here.



Photo source: www.harrieteestelberman.com

New Recycling Law Starts January 1, 2022

Diverting Organic Waste and Recyclables is Now Mandatory with a New California State Law SB 1383

November 8, 2021

A new California State Law, Senate Bill (SB) 1383 Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy, aims to keep food and other compostable materials (“organics”) out of landfills to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change.

Effective January 1, 2022, regulations for SB 1383 will be implemented in West Contra Costa County along with the member cities in this jurisdiction and the garbage collection companies (Republic Services and East Bay Sanitary).


To Comply with SB 1383

To comply with this law, all businesses and residents will be required to separate organics and recyclable materials from trash and either subscribe to the required collection services or self-haul to an appropriate facility for diversion.

If you are a business owner in West Contra Costa County, Click here

If you are a multifamily property owner in West Contra Costa County, Click here

If you are resident of West Contra Costa County, Click here


The Goal of SB 1383

Regulations will take effect on January 1, 2022. The goal of SB 1383 is to reduce organic waste disposal 75% by 2025 and to rescue 20% of surplus edible food for the food insecure by 2025.


The Solution: Fight Climate Change

California is experiencing the effects of a climate crisis: hotter summers, rising sea levels that erode our coastlines, extreme droughts, and more devasting fire seasons.

The solution? Take on the climate crisis. This will put California and West Contra Costa County in a much better position to protect the health of our people and our planet.

View the video from CalRecycle to learn more about California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy.


The Solution: Reduce Food Waste to Feed the Food Insecure

Approximately 1 out of every 6 people in Contra Costa County and in California are food insecure, meaning these individuals or families struggle to find their next meal. This law will help reduce food waste and help feed the food insecure.


City Solid Waste Ordinances

Each city is required to adopt a Solid Waste Ordinance that complies with the requirement of the law.

Refer to the specific member city agency for the ordinances.



Flyer – SB 1383 General Compliance Flyer



RecycleMore Launches New Website

New Website Makes It Easier for West Contra Costa County Residents and Business Owners to Recycle, Compost and Live Greener

November 8, 2021

What should I do with leftover paint? Where can I learn about recycling events in my community? How do I maintain compliance with California and local waste policies? These are just some of the common questions and challenges West Contra Costa County residents and business owners face when they want to get involved with local waste reduction efforts.

RecycleMore has recently launched a user-friendly website that answers these questions and offers residents and business owners the most accurate, comprehensive information, and education about local solid waste and recycling programs.

The new RecycleMore website also features an ultimate “Recycling Guide’‘- which functions like an easy-to-use search engine- that will help local residents and businesses learn how to properly recycle or dispose of more than 300 items. The guide will also provide tips for sustainable living and information for community involvement.

“The Authority is very excited to launch the long-awaited new website for the West Contra Costa County Community. It will be much easier now for the community to refer to the website for available information and to recycle more, live more sustainably, and understand what is required of them to comply with the laws,” says Peter Holtzclaw, Executive Director of RecycleMore.

The RecycleMore website now offers:

  • Community Recycling Resources: Explore educational resources about local programs for residents, businesses, and schools, and information about relevant legislation compliance.
  • Recycling Guide: Search for local disposal and alternative recycling options for over 300 items using a desktop or mobile devices.
  • Hazardous Waste Information: Find information on what is considered household hazardous waste and what facilities and relevant programs are available in the community.
  • Board of Directors Meeting Schedules & Agendas: Find up-to-date information about board members, meetings times, and agenda items.
  • News & Local Events Information: : Find out the latest news for community programs such as local collection events for household hazardous waste, mattresses, and medication take-back.

RecycleMore developed the new website and recycling guide in partnership with Recyclist, a Truckee, Calif.-based startup that provides digital public education solutions to solid waste and recycling program managers.

Calling Local Artists Looking for a Unique Residency Program

May 9, 2022 (Update)

ECCRU Artist in Residency Began April 1, 2022

El Cerrito Artist Steve Zwetsch was selected by the Arts and Culture Commission to be the 2022 El Cerrito Creative Re-Use Artist in Residency, effective April 1, 2022. Steve started building guitars from his home studio in 2016. His focus has been on incorporating as many recycled, upcycled and found objects as possible. He started with and still uses cigar boxes, wine cases, assorted tins, cans and anything else he can find. This program, sponsored by the Arts and Culture Commission, is intended to support local artists in the East Bay who work with recycled materials, and to encourage environmental stewardship – specifically, resource conservation, recycling and upcycling – in the community through art that inspires people to think about sustainability and consumption. The ECCRU Artist Residency provides the artist with access to certain materials at the City’s Recycling + Environmental Resource Center for use in artistic projects.

ECCRU Artist Steve Zwetsch

For more information about Steve Zwetsch, CLICK HERE.

For more information about the ECCRU program, CLICK HERE.







October 25, 2021

The City of El Cerrito is inviting all artists in Contra Costa or Alameda County to apply for The EL Cerrito Creative ReUse (“ECCRU”) Artist Residency program taking place at the El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center (“RERC” or “Center”). Click here for the flyer.

The purpose of this program is to support local artists who work with recycled materials, and to encourage environmental stewardship – specifically resource conservation, recycling, and upcycling – in the community through art that inspires people to think about sustainability and consumption.

The ECCRU Program was approved by the El Cerrito Arts and Culture Commission (“ACC”) in 2015. The Artist selected for this term will be the third ECCRU Artist in the City’s history. The Program is funded by the Art in Public Places Program, established with the passage of the City’s Public Places Ordinance (Section 13.50 ECMC). Click here to learn more about the program.

View the most recent artists and view some of their work:



The City of El Cerrito requires all submissions to be provided online. Click here to apply for the position. Proposals are due by 4:00p.m. on Friday, November 19, 2021.

All questions regarding this Call for Artists may be directed to Alexandra Orologas, Assistant City Manager, City of El Cerrito, (510) 215-4302 or Email: [email protected]




RecycleMore does not sponsor or underwrite the artist program.