STOP Illegal Dumping in our Neighborhoods

One of the more difficult things about living in District 3 is waking up each day to find the streets, sidewalks, parks and schools full of trash and large illegally dumped items. Couches, dressers, mattresses, construction materials dumped on the street corners or in the street is frustrating and makes it hard to feel good about where we live.

Illegal dumping is a surprisingly complex issue. 

Over the past 3 years Doria Robinson has researched the issue by meeting with city and county staff and Republic Services and local residents to understand the challenges they are facing and their current efforts to stop illegal dumping in Richmond.  From this research there seem to be a few issues driving this issue: 


1. Illegal Haulers  

First off it is really important to state clearly that not all illegal dumping in Richmond is coming from local residents who can not afford to use the Transfer Station or choose not to for another reason. Some dumping, especially the larger truck loads of construction debris, 10+ tires dumped at once, multiple appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers at once and very large quantities household waste is coming from unregistered haulers who charge people to pick up trash but do not bring it all the way to a landfill and pay for it to be disposed of properly. Some of these haulers instead bring their loads to our parks, vacant lots and streets and dump their loads knowing that Richmond does not have a way to monitor or enforce illegal dumping. 

From conversations with the City Manager’s Office, City Code Enforcement and Richmond Police, Richmond does not have dedicated staff to investigate illegal dumping even if and when photographic or video evidence was available. If illegal dumpers know there will be no consequences for their actions there is nothing preventing them from continuing their practice.


2. Out of Town Illegal Dumpers 

There are also those who come to Richmond to dump their own trash at the Golden Bear Transfer Station but do not go all the way to the transfer station. Or, when finding out the cost, decide to dump their loads in vacant lots, on our streets and in our parks. Although they are not making a profit from dumping on our streets like professional illegal haulers described above, their actions are also a BIG problem for Richmond, especially for District 3 neighborhoods that are close to the Transfer Station and already suffering from minimal City services.


3. Too Expensive 

When it comes to dumping caused by local residents the cost to dispose of excess trash is a HUGE issue. Many residents report that the local Golden Bear transfer station (“The Dump”) in North Richmond is too expensive. When door knocking multiple residents say they just can not afford to use the transfer station when one trip costs over $100 which for them is the difference between having money for food for their family or gas to get to work for that week. Link to current Golden Bear Transfer Station Costs


4. No Transportation 

Some residents do not have a vehicle or a vehicle large enough to take larger items to the transfer station so items they need to get rid of get set out on the street because they know the City will eventually pick them up.


5. People Do Not Know About FREE Trash Pick-up Programs or Locations

Some residents do not know they can get rid of bulky items by contacting our trash service provider Republic Services and arranging a pick up from their homes for free. They also do not know that mattresses, and household hazardous waste items such as tires, oil, needles, computers, screens etc can be disposed of for FREE at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility in North Richmond.

6. No ID 

Another barrier to using FREE services is that many require a local ID that establishes residency. For some residents who do not have papers this can be a formidable barrier to using FREE services they would use if this barrier was removed.


Doria's Plan to STOP Illegal Dumping

In 2021 Doria initiated an anti-dumping campaign on the Richmond Greenway focusing efforts from 4th Street to 17th street to first address local sources of illegal dumping by: 

  • Establishing a regular FREE DUMPSTER DAY every 3rd Saturday of the month at 17th Street & the Richmond Greenway in collaboration with the City Manager’s office and Republic Service. 3rd Saturday FREE Dumpster Days make it possible for local residents who can not afford to use the Transfer Station to bring items on a monthly basis to this location and dispose of them for FREE. 
  • Next, when people use this FREE service our 3rd Saturday team makes sure that everyone knows about the other FREE ways they can dispose of items throughout the month by giving out literature in English and Spanish to help spread the word. 
  • Our team is also making simple videos in English and Spanish on how to use the Household Hazardous Waste Facility, and How to schedule a FREE bulky item pick up day, and posting them on social media to help spread the word about existing resources. We also have plans to mail a how to deal with your trash booklet to all residents within 2 blocks of the Richmond Greenway.
  • Our team is also mailing postcard reminders to every resident within 2 blocks of the Richmond Greenway. 
  • Encouraging ALL residents to download the FREE City of Richmond App and use it to report illegal dumping and abandoned cars this is by far the fastest way to have city staff pick up dumped materials, deal with abandoned vehicles and graffiti.

These efforts have dramatically reduced illegal dumping on the western Greenway. 

Now Doria would like to spread this effort throughout the district and coordinate it with our neighborhood councils, local non-profits, the City Manager’s office and Republic Services so District 3 residents can stop living in trash. 

In order to make this work, Doria knows we will also need to address the out of town and for profit illegal dumpers. For that we will need support from Code and Law Enforcement and funding to put the investigative and prosecutorial staffing and resources in place, such as license plate readers, night vision cameras and support from neighbors who live near dumping hot spots. 

In advocating for targeted illegal dumping enforcement of these larger scale for-profit violators, Doria is NOT advocating for imprisonment, but instead for meaningfully enforced tickets, fines and considerable community service terms where illegal dumpers will be mandated to help clean up illegal dumping they helped cause. 

We will need to work with the City Manager’s office to publicize this enforcement so the whole Bay Area knows Richmond will no longer be their dumping ground. 

Doria’s 3 strategy approach to illegal dumping will dramatically reduce dumping on the streets of Richmond. 

Doria will work together with City staff, Republic Services, leadership on our neighborhood councils, local nonprofits and local residents to improve life in Richmond.


Resources to Help End Illegal Dumping in our Neighborhoods:

*Learn more about Doria, and her top priorities