What's New? Green Happenings in El Cerrito

celebrate arbor week and el cerrito's new tree city usa designation

The City has reason to celebrate during this year's California Arbor Week, March 7 - 14, as the City is now recognized for the first time as a Tree City USA. This past year, the El Cerrito City Council adopted a Public Tree and Shrub Ordinance to protect public trees, set guidelines for planting, pruning, and removal, and to define the elements of the City's Urban Forestry program. The creation and adoption of the ordinance was a culmination of efforts by the City's Urban Forest Committee and City staff over the last 3 years to clarify issues and add protections for City trees. As a result of these efforts, the City of El Cerrito achieved recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA in January 2020.

In becoming a Tree City USA, the City of El Cerrito joined a nationwide movement of more than 3,500 communities that have made the commitment to manage and expand their urban forest by maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and maintaining an annual Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

This Arbor Week, join City Staff and the Urban Forest Committee in celebrating by planting and caring for trees throughout the community and participating in City Arbor Week activities. Contact spree@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us for more information.

flag raising ceremony and tree planting
saturday, March 7, 11am
el cerrito city hall plaza

Come celebrate the first day of El Cerrito Arbor Week with the Urban Forest Committee as we raise the City's Tree City USA flag for the first time and plant a tree. The City will raise the Tree City USA flag with a brief ceremony at City Hall Plaza.

small tree care workshop
sunday, March 15, 10am-12:30pm
city hall council chambers

Participants will receive training on small tree maintenance with a classroom session followed by hands-on practical applications led by Certified Arborists. Advanced registration is required. Visit www.el-cerrito.org/treecare to register or contact spree@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us for more information.

El Cerrito's "Deep Green" Campaign To Go 100% Renewable!

Sign up for 100% Renewable Energy

The City of El Cerrito created a an initiative to encourage our community to opt-up to Deep Green 100% renewable energy through our local electricity provider, MCE.

Deep Green costs just a penny more per kilowatt-hour, or less than $5/month for the average household. And, it's easy to sign up using this online form.

This campaign follows upon the City of El Cerrito Environmental Quality Committee's 2017 100x100 campaign, asking residents and businesses to shift to 100% renewable energy for the City's 100th Anniversary. In 2017, the City also opted up all of its municipal accounts to Deep Green. Please join the City and help El Cerrito meet its goal to increase the share of the community using 100% renewable energy! Sign up today!

For more information, visit MCE's Opt-up page, or contact City staff at
(510) 525-7622.

El Cerrito Declares a Climate Emergency

On August 20, 2019, the City of El Cerrito's City Council approved of a resolution and joined hundreds of jurisdictions across the globe in declaring a climate emergency. Among other commitments, the City of El Cerrito's resolution calls for the City to strive for zero GHG emissions citywide in the forthcoming Climate Action Plan update.

The City of El Cerrito has been actively working to address climate change for more than a decade. In 2006, the El Cerrito City Council adopted Resolution 2006-61 endorsing the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, in which local governments agreed to implement greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction measures and Resolution 2006-93 endorsing the reduction targets of the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). In 2011, the City passed Resolution 2011-12 adopting GHG emissions reduction targets of 15% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 30% below 2005 levels by 2035, and Resolution 2011-26 approving the City's participation in the Institute for Local Government's Beacon Award Program for "Local Leadership toward Solving Climate Change”. In 2013, the City Council passed Resolution 2013-27 to adopt the El Cerrito Climate Action Plan, and in 2017, Resolution 2017-50 in support of the Paris Climate Agreement. For these efforts and the implementation of associated initiatives, the City is anticipated to receive a prestigious Beacon Award in 2019 from the Institute for Local Government, recognizing the City’s demonstrated achievements in addressing climate change.

A brochure highlighting El Cerrito's Sustainability Best Practices can be found here


City staff is currently continuing to monitor and evaluate implementation of the Climate Action Plan and anticipates beginning the update to the Plan beginning in Spring 2020 to incorporate an increased emissions reduction rate. For more information, please contact City Staff at wprovost@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us or (510) 525-7622.

expanded foodware ordinance public meeting - March 10

The City of El Cerrito adopted a Foodware Ordinance in 2013 to prohibit expanded polystyrene foam ("Styrofoam") take-out containers, and require the use of reusable, recyclable, or compostable foodware. Now, the City is proposing changes to the municipal code to phase out single-us plastic foodware items in the city and encourage the use of reusable and compostable containers to help protect waterways, promote environmental sustainability, and reduce waste. If approved, this would apply to all food providers in the city and include products such as plastic straws, eating utensils, and food and beverage containers.

City Staff are currently sharing information, listening to concerns, answering questions, and gathering input to develop the ordinance. This will include letters and in-person outreach to over 100 businesses that will be impacted, hosting multiple public meetings, print and online outreach efforts, and engaging with stakeholders from the business community, the Environmental Quality Committee, and the City's ADA Working Group. Staff anticipate bringing the draft ordinance for City Council consideration in late Spring 2020. If the Ordinance is adopted, the City will provide an instructional brochure and free, on-going technical training to all affected businesses and food providers and build public awareness to support a smooth transition.

Interested parties can review the Draft Ordinance and find more information at el-cerrito.org/foodware. Or, attend an upcoming meeting to provide input:

public meeting
hosted by the environmental quality committee
tuesday, march 10, 2020 at 7pm
el cerrito city hall

For more information about the proposed Expanded Foodware Ordinance, or to submit comments, contact Will Provost at 510-525-7622 or wprovost@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.

el cerrito compost giveaway

march 14 (saturday) to march 20 (friday)
el cerrito recycling + environmental resource center
7501 schmidt lane

Gardeners, get free compost made from your yard waste and food scraps. The giveaway is for El Cerrito residents and businesses only, so bring proof of residency. Limit of 5 cubic feet per household. Bring your own containers. Available while supplies last. Contact Public Works OESD at 510-215-4350 or green@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.



Come join the fun as the City celebrates Earth Day through a morning of volunteerism and work parties, followed by socializing and music at our Volunteer Appreciation event with kid-friendly activities, information tables, and more! Individuals, families, and groups can register online in advance or check-in at the registrations table, located at the Community Center, to join a work party for the day. Projects include picking up litter, removing weeds, general garden clean-up, and much more.

Learn more or register in advance to host or participate in a work party at www.el-cerrito.org/earthday!

When: Work parties, 9 a.m. to noon; Refreshments, noon to 1:30 p.m.

Where: Work parties at various locations; refreshments at the El Cerrito Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane

Sign up in advance, or simply show up. For more information contact earthday@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us or call City Staff at 510-559-7686.

Celebrate Earth Day with our Artists in Residence, Risa Dye and Kloe Chan
Starting at 10 a.m. at the Community Center at 7007 Moeser Lane, the artists will guide you to make your own upcycled instrument and costume pieces out of materials found at the Recycling Center. Then take what you've made and be a part of the recycled EARTH DAY parade at 12:30 p.m., circling the block and Community Center facility.


To get monthly updates on hikes, cleanups, and environmental events in El Cerrito, subscribe to our email list.

Recycling Center spring + Summer Hours

February 2 through October 31
Monday - Friday: 8:00 AM to 5:45 PM
Saturday & Sunday: 9:00 AM to 4:45 PM

The El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center Office opens at 9 am daily.


El Cerrito Environmental Quality Committee (EQC)

Meets every 2nd Tuesday | 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
El Cerrito City Hall Council Chambers, 10890  San Pablo Avenue
The EQC is a Council-appointed body of residents and business representatives who work to involve the community directly in understanding and reducing our impact on the environment. Regular meetings of the EQC often host informative presentations on environmental issues and policies. Visit www.el-cerrito.org/eqc for more information on the Environmental Quality Committee.

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Baxter Creek Work Party

First Saturday of the Month
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM 
email for additional information

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Urban Forest Committee

Second Monday of the Month
7:00 PM
City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Avenue
email for additional information

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El Cerrito Green Teams

Semi-regular events organized by the Environmental Quality Committee and the Public Works Department.
Help keep El Cerrito Green by volunteering at a Green Team event. For more details about the Green Teams or to volunteer for future events, visit: www.el-cerrito.org/greenteams. Or, please contact the Operations + Environmental Services Division for more information about volunteer projects: email or phone at 510-215-4350.