08/04/2021

California city approves 25-cent fee on disposable cups

Patrons of restaurants and coffee shops in Berkeley, California, who don’t bring a reusable cup for their beverage will have to pay a 25-cent fee for a disposable cup as part of an ordinance approved by city officials to reduce restaurant waste.

Berkeley’s City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the fee on single-use cups that will take effect January 2020.

“The goal is to transition Berkeley from throwaway to reusable food ware, to incentivize people to bring their own cup,” said Councilwoman Sophie Hahn, who co-authored the ordinance with Mayor Jesse Arreguin.

The ordinance, called Disposable-Free Dining, also requires restaurants to provide takeout containers that are compostable by mid-2020 and to provide only reusable plates and utensils for those eating in. It also says other disposable items, like lids and stirrers, can only be offered when requested.

Restaurants would keep all proceeds, and it would be up to them to decide what to do with the extra money. The funds, for example, could be used to replace plastic cutlery for more environmentally friendly silverware, she added.

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