Oakland’s Illegal Dumping Problem & Possible Solutions

oakland illegal dumping

Oakland, California is experiencing a trash crisis caused primarily by people participating in illegal dumping. The problem of illegal dumping has gotten so bad that the city reported a 100 percent increase between 2013 and 2017. Unfortunately, Oakland is just one of many large cities in California with this growing problem.

In 2016, Oakland Public Works picked up 29,000 piles of illegally dumped trash, many of which they discovered on their own. Current city regulations require the Public Works Department to pick up every illegally dumped trash pile reported by the public. This is a significant strain on Oakland’s financial resources, especially when considering that many trash pick-ups required employees to use more than one truck.

The illegal dumping problem has only grown worse in 2021 with limited Oakland trash hauling and other city services available due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fed-Up Oakland Residents Forming Their Own Illegal Dumping Patrols

Homeless encampments, abandoned warehouses, old motorhomes and cars frustrate Oakland residents. Many complain that the Oakland Police and the Public Works Department are not doing enough to keep their city clean. The problem of illegal dumping is particularly bad at an abandoned warehouse on Alameda Avenue formerly owned by Owens-Illinois.

People in this and other Oakland neighborhoods have started investing their own money to purchase and install security lighting and cameras to catch the illegal dumpers in the act. For their part, the police report responding to assault, auto theft, robbery, and drug crime calls at the former Owens-Illinois building at least once a day. Additionally, the Oakland Fire Department reports responding to 500 calls at the nearby homeless encampments over the past three years.

However, even members of the Oakland City Council concede that the city does not do enough to enforce the rules. Criminals cut through fences to get into the abandoned warehouse, which is also full of graffiti. Owens-Illinois even received a notice from the city to increase security. However it appears it has not been enough to deter crime and litter in the area. Businesses such as Home Depot have threatened to leave due to the trash and drug paraphernalia. Unfortunately, that would leave one more abandoned building to attract crime.

What Oakland Residents Can Do to Help Combat the Trash Crisis

The first thing the City of Oakland stresses is that people should not dump their trash anywhere they would like. The practice is illegal, not to mention harmful to the environment and disrespectful to other Oakland residents. Anyone who does not have trash and recycling service currently should contact Waste Management of Alameda County to arrange it.

One way that Oakland encourages residents not to illegally discard of bulky items is by sponsoring an annual Bulky Pickup Service. Residents can call 510-613-8710 to request an appointment or learn more about the program at www.OaklandRecycles.com. Other ways that Oakland residents can discard their trash include:

  • Recycle items according to the guidelines at RecycleWhere.Org.
  • Drop off electronic waste at the Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Residents can call 800-606-6606 or visit household-haz.waste.org for more information.
  • Haul trash to a disposal facility themselves. The available facilities are the City of Berkley Transfer Station at 510-638-2303 or ci.berkeley.ca.us/transferstation and the Davis Street Transfer Station in San Leandro at 510-638-2303 or www.dsgardencenter.com.

Oakland residents can report illegal dumping by calling 510-615-5566. Callers may be eligible for a reward through the City Rewards Program for making a report.

If you live in the East Bay and need the help of an ethical and responsible junk hauling service, contact Fast Haul!