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California City approves a 25-cent charge for disposable cups



Disposed cups in a trash can, seen on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 in Berkeley, California. Berkeley has approved a 25-cent tax on disposable cups, which city officials say is part of an effort to remove garbage from restaurants. The city council voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve the regulation, which also forced restaurants to provide containers that were composting by January 2020 (AP Photo / Ben Margot)

and cafes in Berkeley, California, who do not wear a reusable glass for their drink, will have to pay a 25-cent disposable cup as part of an ordinance approved by the city authorities to reduce garbage from restaurants.

The city of Berkeley unanimously voted on Tuesday to approve the Disposable Glasses Fee, which will come into effect from January 2020.

"The aim is to shift Berkeley from a throw-away to reusable food to stimulate people bring their own cup, "said councilor Sophie Han, who co-authored the regulation with the mayor Jesse Aregin.

The Ordinance, called Disposable Dion, also requires restaurants to provide disposal containers to be composted by the middle of 2020 and to provide only reusable tiles and utensils for those who eat. He also says that other disposable items, such as covers and stirrers, can only be offered on request.

Restaurants would keep all revenue and it would be theirs to decide what to do with extra money. Means, for example, can be used to replace plastic cutlery for greener silverware, she added.

Disposable fee is the last effort in a socially advanced city to reduce waste. The ban on plastic bags received support in the city for 120,000 years before California became the first state to ban in 2014. The city also imposed a ban on plastic straws.

Berkeley was a pioneer in recycling in the 1970s and banned styrofoam in the 1980's. This alone is no longer enough, Han said.

The hope is to reduce the consumption of disposable containers by changing behaviors and one day people bring their own reusable containers to restaurants, just as they say they say the reusable plastic bags in the grocery store are the first a city in the US that recycled curbs, and people thought we were crazy.

Berkelea voters have also become the country's first to adopt soda tax to curb consumption, as costly soda industry campaigns have helped defeat such taxes in more than 30 other cities and countries in recent years.

Many Berkeley restaurants already use compostable food and reusable plates, as well as cutlery, and the Ordinance is not opposed, she added.

The owners of the Telegraph Avenue business, street-lined coffee shops residents who care about the University of California at Berkeley, support the measure but are still concerned about the financial consequences they might have, said Stewart Baker, executive Director of the Telegraph Business Improvement Business.

"Everyone is excited to do something about the environment – and then the cost of food rises, but the student does not make a connection and stops eating outside and the business is diminishing." Baker said he hoped the city would educate the public about it , which a 25-cent charge would mean for the environment. "To be successful, people need to understand that this will affect their pocket book," he said


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