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New Civility Rules for Used Books, Other Items at Recycling Center

The El Cerrito Recycling Center is holding a community meeting April 4 on the proposed rules for fair and civil use of the center's soon-to-begin "Exchange Zone," which will incorporate the old Book Exchange and add other re-use items.

A city-sponsored community meeting will be held April 4 on draft rules for maintaining fairness and avoiding conflict at the "Exchange Zone" at El Cerrito's soon-to-open new .

The Exchange Zone will incorporate the popular Book Exchange from the old recycling center, which saw numerous resident complaints about about aggressive book-grabbers snatching up box-loads of used books for resale. Two men got into a physical altercation over the books, with one having his glasses knocked off, a month ago at the makeshift interim spot for the Book Exchange, according to recycling center employees.

Numerous other re-use items – such as tools, toys and CDs – will be added in the expanded Exchange Zone.

The proposed new protocol has one main rule: "Take no more than one file box of items per day."

Appearing in brackets after the rule is the further statement: "[Bulk users contact staff to access larger quantities.]"

In addition, there are seven "Rules of Conduct":

  • Place accepted items in designated areas only
  • Supervise your children and leave pets at home
  • Parking in the facility is limited to 30 minutes
  • Notify staff of issues and call 911 in an emergency
  • Do not drop-off items that the City does not accept
  • Do not take any items without City permission
  • Do not get in or move any bins or equipment

The new rules are the latest and apparent final draft, following an earlier city draft discussed at a on the issue on Nov. 30.

"We will be providing an overview and taking comments at the community meeting next Wednesday, April 4th at 3 p.m.," said an email notice Wednesday from city Environmental Analyst Garth Schultz, manager of the recycling center.

"I will take comments / answer questions for two weeks after this meeting via phone or email," he said. The final Exchange Zone rules will be posted prior to the ribbon-cutting and open house for the El Cerrito Recycling and Environmental Resource Center on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 4-6 p.m.

City officials had hoped to open the new Recycling Center in February, but a delay in obtaining a water hook-up has caused it to be postponed.

A draft poster with the new rules also lists items to be accepted and not accepted. The "Accepted" list says:

Small reusable items, including:

  • Art Supplies
  • Audio / Video Tapes
  • Bicycle Parts
  • Books
  • CDs and DVDs
  • Games
  • Greeting Cards
  • Hangers
  • Hardware
  • Magazines
  • Records / LPs
  • School Supplies
  • Office Supplies
  • Tools
  • Toys

The "Not Accepted" section says:

  • No inappropriate or unsafe items
  • No hazardous or toxic substances or items
  • El Cerrito provides no guaruntee for any exchanged item

A copy of the poster is attached to this article. The April 4 meeting will held at the Recycling Center at 7501 Schmidt Lane.

For email alerts of future updates on the Recycling Center, click the "Keep me posted" button below. For past articles on the center, click the "El Cerrito Recycling Center" link next to "Related Topics" below.

Doug Millison April 01, 2012 at 03:19 PM
If there's money to be made reselling these discarded items, why doesn't the City resell them and pocket the money to help cover costs? Or, the City could let somebody pay for the privilege of sorting through the discards to find what's worth reselling.
Paul D April 01, 2012 at 05:22 PM
"Two men got into a physical altercation over the books, with one having his glasses knocked off..." The man who got his glasses knocked off is one of the greediest resellers. I recently saw him reaching into a unoccupied car parked on Schmidt Lane and stealing a dozen or so books -- until he noticed he was being observed. The line between resellers and outright thieves is blurring. And I always lock my car when visiting the Recycling Center now. I suggest others do the same.
Local Mom April 02, 2012 at 01:56 AM
The Center is a community resource, funded primarily by the recycling ratepayers of El Cerrito. If a majority of those citizens don't want (greedy/creepy/you pick the negative adjective) resellers using the Exchange Zone, the staff needs to come up with better rules that will achieve that. The current proposal doesn't address the problem(s) that I and other commenters noted.
Sarah R April 03, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I like your suggestion - Make the booksellers pay for the privilege of carting off box after box of books to resell at Half-Priced Books.
Sarah R April 03, 2012 at 06:02 PM
What's with the 3 p.m. time slot for this "community" meeting? Not very welcoming for those of us who work.

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