Last month, Berkeley City Council unanimously passed the Disposable-Free Dining Ordinance, a groundbreaking and expansive plan for phasing out single-use plastic foodware from Berkeley restaurants and businesses.
The ordinance, the first of its kind in the U.S. to comprehensively address single-use plastics, has been met with an outpouring of support from the community including students, youth, business owners, and local citizens. Berkeley City Council’s adoption of this ordinance not only reinforces the city’s reputation as a leader in the movement towards Zero Waste but will radically impact our collective journey towards a resilient future for all.
What does this mean for Berkeley?
- Immediately requires items like utensils, straws, lids, and sleeves be provided by request or at self-serve station.
- Immediately requires food vendors to have compost bins for customers.
- By January 1, 2020, requires all disposable takeout foodware to be 100% BPI certified compostable.
- By January 1, 2020, requires that all vendors charge $0.25 cents for hot and cold takeout cups. If a customer provides their own cup, the charge is not applied.
- By July 1, 2020, requires that all eat-in dining be in reusable foodware.
The ordinance will be phased into adoption over the next few years. Businesses keep the $0.25 cup tax and can reinvest that revenue into upgrading their equipment. Additionally, there are small grants available from the city to support businesses to comply, as well as possible waivers for hard to attain take-out containers.
The passage of this policy is the culmination of years of work and is the embodiment of what we do at the Ecology Center: bringing together professionals, community members, business owners, city government, and social activists to empower local leadership, envision change and adopt sustainable solutions to society’s most pressing problems.
Get prepared for disposable-free dining with these items from the Ecology Center Store:
Zero Waste Beverage Cup
Turn any mason jar into a to-go mug with a Cuppow lid attachment (pictured), or opt for an insulated Klean Kanteen, incredibly effective at keeping your beverages hot or cold for hours!
Zero Waste Straws
Love Boba? Then you’ll love these reusable Boba Straws. Stainless Steel, they will last a lifetime! Easy to clean, and perfect to ensure no tapioca ball gets left behind!
Zero Waste Tupperware
A stainless steel food container is the best way to take your food to go without creating plastic trash. And you can throw it in the dishwasher when you’re home! At our store you’ll find insulated and uninsulated options, as well as a wide range of sizes.
Zero Waste Utensils
These Bamboo utensils make an excellent gift, and are great for on-the-go eating. No more plastic spoons that last a lifetime in our oceans! The bamboo utensils are sturdy and come with a beautiful cork and leather pouch to keep them safe and clean in your bag. They’re also compostable so you can dispose of them guilt-free when they are done with their lifecycle.
Learn more about the Disposable Free Dining Ordinance in these press hits:
“Berkeley to charge 25 cents for disposable coffee cups with the goal of zero waste,” KTVU
“Berkeley isn’t just attacking plastic waste, it’s rejecting our entire throwaway culture,” by Martin Bourque and Annie Leonard, Op-Ed, LA Times
This blog originally appeared in Ecology Center.