The Berkeley city council is set to vote on a Disposable Foodware and Litter Reduction ordinance on Tuesday, which would mean restaurants, cafes and other businesses would be forced to charge customers 25 cents for each disposable cup.
Customers can avoid paying the extra fee if they bring their own cup.
The ordinance also would require all dine-in foodware to be reusable, and takeout foodware to be compostable by January 2020. So, if you're dining in at McDonald's, for example, the restaurant will have to provide a real fork or spoon, not a plastic one.
The Berkeley city council is set to vote on a Disposable Foodware and Litter Reduction ordinance that would mean restaurants, cafes and other businesses would be forced to charge customers 25 cents for each disposable cup.
City leaders hope the proposal can help Berkeley in its efforts to achieve zero waste.
In a press release, the city said it if passes, this ordinance would become the most ambitious, comprehensive legislation to reduce throw-away foodware in the United States and would take effect next year.
“With the collapse of the overseas recycling market and an influx of food- and beverage-related litter on our streets and in our waterways, waiting is no longer an option,” said Berkeley Councilmember Sophie Hahn, the author of the legislation. “Many Berkeley restaurants have already switched to compostable to-go ware and reusables for dining-in and we’re asking all food vendors to follow their visionary example. Recycling is no longer a solution – if we want to save the planet, it’s time to reduce, reuse and compost. . . .”
High time for this. I'm constantly disgusted at the amount of single-use containers I see littered or tossed into garbage cans. In California we've managed to prohibit the use of single-use produce bags and require stores to charge patrons for shopping bags (paper or reusable-use plastic) plus we've now banned plastic straws, despite the strenuous, well-funded opposition of the bag and container manufacturers.
My hope is that we can next get rid of single-use water and soda bottles below 1 gallon in size for retail sales (we could still provide 1 liter + for disaster relief etc.), as that would vastly reduce the amount of waste and move most people to transfer their drinks from a larger container to a smaller, reusable one to carry with them. I'd also like to get rid of the plastic cups with those domed tops with center holes for straws. I collect recyclables almost daily, and plastic 500 ml screw-top water bottles probably make up 2/3rds of that, many of them more than half full, with the 250 ml and 1 liter water, along with the 20 oz. soda bottles making up most of the rest. Single-use coffee cups are plentiful in the litter and garbage cans around coffee shops. I've got nothing against plastic bottles per se - I've got plastic water bottles I've been using for 25 years or more. But we really need to get away from the whole once and done mindset.