Recycle Your Unwanted Stuff!

I have become a recycling junkie.  It is exhilarating.  Productive.  Cleansing.  Seriously.  For me there is something so refreshing about getting rid of crap.

While I was on maternity leave I emptied out my closet (got rid of 8 bags of clothing), cleaned out the kitchen (2 boxes of glassware and vases), cleaned out my office (filled 6 boxes), and started getting rid of baby stuff (7 bags).  I may still have some baby weight on me, but my house doesn’t!

Where did I donate everything?

The e-waste went to the El Cerrito e-waste event which is held 2x’s year and to CARH, the Community Assistance for the Retarded and Handicapped– every couple of months they come to the house and pick up unwanted household items.  CARH also took a lot of the clothing.

The Alameda County Computer Resource Center accepts most electronics and offer free pick-up for Berkeley residents.

I also love the El Cerrito Recycling and Berkeley Recycling Centers.  In addition to recycling your standard plastics and paper, the El Cerrito Recycling Center offers free mulch, has a free community book exchange, and a Goodwill reuse station on its premises.  the Berkeley Recycling Center will take or buy back most materials and appliances.  The Davis Transfer Station in San Leandro also accepts most materials.

We also recycle food scraps in our house.  El Cerrito will allow you to put food scraps in your greenwaste bin which has greatly reduced the amount of trash we have.  As a family of four we were able to downgrade our trash can size to the smallest one.  (I suspect many people are doing this because trash prices keep going up!)

Recycling mattresses?  Ask the retailer you are buying it from if they can recycle your old mattress.  Salvation Army accepts mattresses in good condition, as well as other items such as furniture and clothing.  The Berkeley Transfer Station takes mattresses for $10.

For the compact fluorescent bulbs I was able to drop them off at Ace HardwareHome Depot and IKEA will also take them.  EcoLights.com has prepaid return shipping and recycling kits for fluorescent lights, batteries and mercury-containing devices.

The Household Hazardous Waste Facility in Richmond is a fantastic resource for getting rid of things such as batteries, cleaners and solvents, paints, used oil, car products, and pesticides.

I like the free iRecycle iPhone app– it lets you access the national recycling database run by Earth911.org.

Now if only I knew where to start in the garage.


Alameda County: 877-STOPWASTE
Contra Costa County: 800-750-4096
Oakland: 510-238-SAVE
Berkeley: 510-527-5555
StopWaste Hazardous Waste: 800-606-6606