The People’s Republic of Berkeley, Calif., takes pride in its leadership on all things civic and environmental. The small liberal city east of San Francisco was one of the first U.S. cities to adopt curbside recycling. It banned styrofoam and was early to take on plastic shopping bags. Earlier this year, the Berkeley city council put on notice a new environmental scourge: The to-go coffee cup.
Some 40 million disposable cups get tossed in the city each year, according to the city council, almost one per resident per day. So in January, the city said it will require coffee shops to charge an extra 25-cents for customers who use a take-away cup. “Waiting is no longer an option,” Sophie Hahn, the Berkeley city council member who wrote the legislation, said at the time.