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That Cup Will Cost You a Quarter

New Berkeley Law Aims to Reduce Trash

KCBS Radio Morning News
January 23, 2019 - 6:41 am

BERKELEY (KCBS Radio) -- An anti-waste ordinance was unanimously approved by the Berkeley City Council Tuesday night, requiring businesses to charge customers 25 cents for disposable cups.

The "Single Use Disposable Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance" will also require all takeout foodware to be compostable.  Backers described it as the nation's toughest law regarding trash generated by the food service industry.

Berkeley Councilmember Sophie Hahn introduced the ordinance because she sees a developing crisis caused by disposable packaging. "Without dramatic changes in the products and packaging we consume, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by the year 2050," said Hahn.

Fellow councilmember Kate Harrison echoed Hahn's environmental concern. "We did this with plastic bags, we've done it with Styrofoam. This is the opportunity to grab this chance and run with it," said Harrison.

The ordinance allows restaurant owners to apply for a hardship waiver. The law takes effect on January 1, 2020.