Dawn Koepke

To reduce single-use waste, Berkeley approves 25-cent fee disposable cups

By Dawn Koepke

Capitol Update, Feb. 4, 2019

Recently, the Berkeley City Council unanimously passed a single-use disposable foodware and litter reduction ordinance intended to reduce restaurant waste. The measure, which goes into effect next January, requires businesses to charge a 25-cent fee for disposable cups. Further, it says restaurants shall provide compostable takeout containers and, by July 2020, the ordinance bans disposable plates and utensils for patrons dining in. Berkeley’s Mayor, Jesse Arreguin, deemed the effort “landmark legislation.” He also tweeted that the ordinance is "the most ambitious, groundbreaking policy to reduce throw-away foodware in the nation."

California currently has a ban on single-use plastic bags and prohibits restaurants from providing disposable plastic straws except on request. However, state legislators have continued pushing to further decrease the use of single-use products. Last month, Senators Ben Allen (D-Redondo Beach) and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced an intent bill, SB 54, "to enact legislation that would significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste entering California's waste stream." Details of the proposal remain largely unknown and we expect a number of other similar measures to be introduced in the coming weeks.  

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