by Mark Tarses

Garbage collectors in Berkeley and Oakland are very fussy. They will only take away garbage that is in your garbage can. They will not take away garbage that is sitting on top of the can or in bags next to the can. Bagged garbage left on the ground attracts mice, rats, and stray dogs!

Put your garbage can and recycling bins away as soon as the trash is picked up. Otherwise, passers-by will use them as public trash cans, and they may get stolen. That happens fairly often.

When putting plastic bottles or juice containers in your garbage can, take off the caps first! Plastic bottles with the caps left on can take up a huge amount of space in garbage cans because they cannot be compressed.

Use your recycling bins! When tenants tell me that they need a larger garbage can, I invariably find that a lot of the stuff that they are putting in their garbage can should be going into their recycling bin instead, or they are forgetting to take their garbage can out to the sidewalk every week.

Do not put any of the following items in your recycling bins: Sharp objects, like broken glass. Detergent boxes and detergent bottles. Detergent screws up recycling machinery. Loose paper & newspapers. The wind blows this stuff all over the place. Paper must be put in paper bags or boxes or tied up with string. Styrofoam pellets and packaging. They cannot recycle this stuff and will not take it away if it is in the recycling bin.

Don't stack bottles and cans in the recycling bin above the rim. When they fall out, bottles break, and it makes a mess. If you need more recycling bins, you can get more of them at no cost from the city of Berkeley or Oakland.

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