Updated Thursday Jan. 24, 10 a.m.
The Berkeley City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday night that will require restaurants and cafes to use to-go foodware that's compostable beginning next year — and by mid-2020 to provide only reusable dishes and utensils for patrons dining in.
The ordinance will also require customers to pay a 25-cent fee, starting Jan. 1, 2020, for disposable cups, a fee that can be bypassed if customers bring in their own.
Sophie Hahn, the Berkeley City Council member behind what's being called the most ambitious legislation in the country aimed at reducing throwaway food containers and utensils, called the ordinance both environmentally and fiscally sound.
"There's a lot of costs that go into creating, consuming and then dealing with the waste associated with single-use disposable foodware — that is throwaway foodware — and their cost is not just to our environment but also to our cities and municipalities," Hahn said. "We spend a lot of money dealing with this littering garbage, and it's time for us to turn that around, both for the environment, for our cities and for our citizens."