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The City of Berkeley Health Officer has ordered all residents to shelter at home, leaving only to receive or provide essential services, starting 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 17. See details of the Order, frequently asked questions, and recommendations from Berkeley Public Health at https://www.cityofberkeley.info/coronavirus.

City Council Live Stream: Please visit https://www.cityofberkeley.info/CalendarEventWebcastMain.aspx

ZAB Live Stream: Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx.

The City of Berkeley web site is undergoing scheduled maintenance starting on Friday night, September 13 and ending on Saturday afternoon, September 14. During this time, most web pages should be available, but some resources may become unavailable for short periods of time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 5/9/19, at 7:00pm? Please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1UAnZ8kU8EWllREyOY7rwQ/. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 2/28/19, from 6:00 to 11:00 PM? Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same date and time.

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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 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. Reducing disposable foodware is a component of the City’s Zero Waste Goal

The 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.

Effective July 1, 2021, all ordinance requirements are in effect.

The City seeks to assist businesses with the shift away from environmentally harmful single-use disposable foodware and toward reusable foodware by providing onsite technical assistance and other resources to help businesses comply. Businesses will be offered technical assistance and opportunities to comply or, if applicable, to request a waiver prior to any enforcement action.  

Summary of Ordinance Requirements

On-Site Dining Requirements:

1. Reusable Foodware For On-Site Dining

Prepared Food Vendors offering on-site dining must 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.

No single-use disposable foodware is allowed for on-site dining, with the following exceptions:

  • Paper tray liners, paper wrappers, napkins, and BPI-Certified bioplastic or paper straws are allowed for dining on-premises. Paper napkins and paper straws should be offered upon request or at self-serve stations. 
  • Recyclable aluminum foil is allowed for wrapping/forming items (i.e. burritos/wraps).

2. Front-of-House Recycle and Compost Receptacles 

Prepared Food Vendors that allow self-bussing must provide color-coded receptacles for customers to separate their recyclables, compostables, and landfill waste that is generated onsite. Post signage above and/or on each receptacle.  

Color-code receptacles:  

  • Blue for recyclable containers (bottles, cans, foil, rigid plastic containers) 
  • Green for compost (food scraps, food-soiled paper) 
  • Black or gray for landfilled items (small plastics, plastic film/bags)   

Take-Out Requirements:

1. BPI-Certified Compostable Foodware

Disposable foodware is allowed for “to-go” orders, but all take-out foodware must be BPI-Certified Compostable. No single-use plastic allowed.

2. $0.25 Charge for Disposable Cups

Prepared Food Vendors must charge twenty-five cents ($0.25) for every disposable beverage cup provided. This charge is intended to incentivize customers to utilize reusable cups.

Itemize charges for disposable cups separately on any post-sale receipt provided to the customer and clearly identify the charge on media such as menus, ordering platforms, and menu boards. Customers placing orders by phone shall be informed verbally of the disposable cup charges. 

  • Businesses are not required to increase prices to add the $0.25 charge. The charge for the disposable cup must simply be itemized separately.
  • 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.  

3. Disposable Accessory Items Upon Request

Disposable accessory items (e.g. 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) are to be provided only upon customer request or at self-serve stations.   

  • All disposable accessory items must be BPI-Certified compostable, with the exception of paper napkins or natural wood accessories (i.e. wood utensils, toothpicks, stirrers) which are accepted in the compost program without any certification necessary.     
  • Online food delivery platforms must provide an opt-in option for accessory items.    

City of Berkeley Facilities and Events: 

Foodware purchased by the City of Berkeley for use at City facilities and at City-sponsored events must be reusable or BPI-certified compostable.  



Enforcement is currently complaint-based only. Enforcement includes a written notice of noncompliance, an offer of technical assistance or other resources to help businesses comply, and an opportunity to comply or to initiate a request for a waiver, if applicable.

Temporary Waivers

Full or partial waivers are available here for the following circumstances:   

  • Unavailability of on-site or off-site dishwashing capacity or inability to contract for services to wash, rinse and sanitize reusable foodware due to insurmountable space constraints, undue financial hardship, and/or other extraordinary insurmountable circumstances. If a business receives a waiver from the reusable foodware requirement for onsite dining, all disposable foodware must still be BPI-certified compostable.
  • If no BPI-Certified compostable disposable foodware item(s) exist(s) with substantially similar size, performance and/or utility or, if such an item exists, that costs of using such item would cause undue financial hardship. If a business receives a waiver for BPI-Certified foodware item(s), the item(s) must be recyclable in the City of Berkeley recyclable collection program.

Waivers may be granted for a specified term of up to two (2) years. No enforcement action will be taken during the waiver application or review process. During the waiver term, the Prepared Food Vendor is expected to make diligent efforts to become compliant.  

View the full ordinance here.

View a one-page Ordinance Requirements for Prepared Food Vendors fact sheet here


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