Translation Disclaimer

Department of Public Works
Department of Public Works

Berkeley Single Use Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance

Effective March 27, 2019, the Berkeley Single Use Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance is designed to reduce the use and disposal of single use  foodware, including cups, lids, utensils, straws, clamshells, and other disposables that contribute to street litter, marine pollution, harm to wildlife, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste sent to landfills. This ordinance seeks to assist businesses with the shift away from environmentally harmful single use disposable foodware and toward reusable foodware. Reducing the use of disposable foodware is a component of the City’s Zero Waste Goal

The Berkeley Single Use Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance applies to all Prepared Food Vendors, including bakeries, cafeterias, drive-ins, food products stores, food service establishments, drugstores, theaters, bars and other similar establishments that sell Prepared Food to be consumed on or off premises. Ordinance requirements also apply to foodware purchased by the City of Berkeley for use at City facilities and City-sponsored events.

The ordinance is implemented in phases to give businesses time and flexibility to successfully transition. Enforcement of each phase does not begin until one year after the effective date of each phase, and businesses will be offered technical assistance and opportunities to cure or request a waiver prior to any enforcement action.  

Phase 1 - Effective March 27, 2019:

  •  Accessory Disposable Foodware Items shall be provided only upon request or at self-serve stations. 
      • Accessory Items include: straws, stirrers, napkins, utensils, condiment cups/packets, cup sleeves, tops, lids, spill plugs, and any other similar accessory or accompanying disposable foodware item used as part of food or beverage service or packaging.

  • Prepared Food Vendors that allow self-bussing must provide color-coded receptacles for customers to separate their recyclables, compostables, and landfill waste. Signage must be posted above and/or on each receptacle.  

      • Receptacles and signage must be color-coded as follows:
        • Blue for recyclable containers (bottles, cans, rigid plastic containers)
        • Green for compost (food scraps, food-soiled paper)
          • Apply for free indoor green compost receptacles here 
        • Black or gray for landfilled items (small plastics, plastic film/bags

  • Foodware purchased by the City of Berkeley for use at City facilities and City-sponsored events must be reusable or certified compostable.  Click here to find certified compostable foodware suppliers and products. 

  • Enforcement of Phase 1 commences March 27, 2020

Phase 2 - Effective January 1, 2020:

  • All disposable foodware and accessory disposable foodware items must be certified compostable and be free of intentionally added fluorinated chemicals.
      • Click here to find certified compostable foodware and other products that meet ordinance requirements. 
      • Prepared Food Vendors can seek waivers for specific disposable foodware items if they demonstrate that no comparable certified compostable item exists, or the cost of the item would cause undue financial hardship. Waivers will be available prior to enforcement. 

  • Prepared Food Vendors must show a charge of twenty five cents ($0.25) for every disposable cup provided.  
      • Charges for disposable cups must be identified separately on any post-sale receipt provided to the customer and shall be clearly identified on media such as menus, ordering platforms, and/or menu boards. Customers placing orders by phone shall be informed verbally of the disposable cup charges.
      • The $0.25 charge cannot be applied to any reusable cups supplied by a customer at the point of sale. Prepared food vendors can refuse to fill unsuitable or unsanitary cups provided by customers. 
      • All customers demonstrating a payment card or voucher issued by the California Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) or an Electronic Benefit Transfer card (EBT) are exempt from the disposable cup charge.

  • Enforcement of Phase 2 commences January 1, 2021.

Phase 3 - Effective July 1, 2020:

  • Prepared Food Vendors offering onsite dining may only use reusable (durable/washable) foodware to serve customers eating on the premises.
      • Food vendors may either provide cleaning and sanitation facilities on-site or contract with a service for off-site cleaning.
      • All foodware for onsite dining must be reusable, with the following exceptions: 
        • Certified compostable paper tray/plate liners, paper wrappers, napkins, and straws are allowed for dining on-premises.
        • Recyclable aluminum foil is allowed for wrapping/forming items (i.e. burritos/wraps)
  • Enforcement of Phase 3 commences July 1, 2021. Technical assistance and mini-grants will be available to assist Prepared Food Vendors with the transition to reusable foodware prior to enforcement. Hardship waivers will also be available.

View the full ordinance here.

 

Home | Web Policy | Text-Only Site Map | Contact Us
Department of Public Works, 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: publicworks@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-6300
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903
###