Berkeley is shaping a vision for a new facility at its current site at Second and Gilman streets. Built in 1981 to handle 120 tons of waste a day, the original 4.25-acre facility has swelled to a 7.68-acre plant handling more than 420 tons of waste per day.  “It’s probably at its limit,” said Abbe. “We want to maximize diversion and have the highest and best use.”

During Friday’s two-hour session at the north branch of the Berkeley Public Library, which an estimated 20 people attended, members of the Zero Waste Collaborative – comprised of four design, construction and management firms — presented three visions compiled from earlier workshops.

All three options feature significantly larger recycling centers at the south end of the site, including drop-off areas and a weather protection canopy, with solar photovoltaic panels for on-site power generation, and entrance and exit lanes on Second and Gilman streets. The vehicle pathways would have return loops. Planners used airports and malls as examples of ingress and egress at drop-off stations.

“Like the airport analogy, you can loop back if you miss something,” said Clark Davis, director of architecture firm J.R. Miller & Associates, and a member of the Zero Waste Collaborative.

A document comparing features of each plan said the recycling center will use “airport-style” pullover parking in lieu of parking stalls, to cut-down on auto maneuvering.

All three options also include public education centers. “We would like residents and school children to be able to go down there and see how recycling works,” said Abbe.

The differences between the plans are in the details – the biggest of which is whether the city goes with one or two large buildings.

The first option consists of two main buildings – a 31,200-square-foot recycling facility nearer to the corner of Gilman and Second streets, which would also house artist studio space. The second building, to the north, would consist of two spaces: a 30,000-square-foot transfer station walled off from a 19,600-square-foot commercial transfer space. City waste and recycling trucks would park between the north building and Second Street.

The front of the facility would consist of office space, public drop-off areas for waste, recycling and bulky items, a public-buy-back area, a sorting space, an information kiosk and a payment station. Two rainwater tanks would collect water used for vehicle and pavement washing.

“It’s a very large space. Much larger than the transfer station that’s there now,” said Davis.

To read the full story, visit