A new Berkeley law requiring restaurants and coffee shops to charge 25 cents per disposable cup is now in effect as of Jan. 1. City officials have reported that the city’s residents throw out about 40 million disposable cups in a year.
The comprehensive new law that won unanimous city council approval in January of last year is an effort to encourage national change, but it doesn’t stop at cups. The rules also force businesses to use compostable to-go containers and reusable foodware for customers dining in. Straws, stirrers, utensils and napkins for to-go orders are only to be given out by request or self-service stations. The ordinance led to the creation of a reusable cup pilot program that launched in September.