Groundbreaking Foodware Ordinance

In January, the City of Berkeley passed the first ordinance in the Estuary, and possibly the nation, banning single use disposable takeout containers, or foodware. Introduced by Councilmember Sophie Hahn, the Single Use Disposable Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance passed unanimously, and will be phased in between now and 2020, when customers will be charged 25 cents for disposable cups. Even fast food chains will be required to provide reusable or compostable foodware.

An estimated 40 million single-use cups (based on population) are used in Berkeley annually; many of these aren’t recycled. In a statement, Councilmember Hahn said, “Recycling is no longer a solution–if we want to save the planet, it’s time to reduce, reuse, and compost.”  The ordinance requires that all takeout foodware be compostable and all dine-in foodware be reusable by January 2020, with a number of related initiatives to support low-income residents, who may be exempted from the disposable cup fee, and businesses. The city expects the ordinance to help with reaching Berkeley’s goal of zero waste by 2020.

This ordinance goes farther than the extended producer responsibility focus of Task 30-1, but has the same goal of reducing waste related to food and beverage packaging, and therefore can be considered progress toward the Task 30-1 milestone.

TASK 30-1 Partner with municipalities, counties, pollution prevention organizations, and other stakeholders to research and implement effective extended producer responsibility (EPR) strategies for food and beverage packaging in the Estuary. Highlight successful strategies and develop recommendations for regional and well as local approaches.

BY 2020 Implement four new EPR ordinances or other strategies based on recommendations.

Read more at Berkeleyside’s coverage of the event in January.