California City Imposes 25-Cent Tax on Disposable Cups at Restaurants

Katheryne Helendale

🐱 Kitty Queen🐱
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
3,187
Location
Right... Behind... You...
SL Rez
2008
Joined SLU
October 2009
Berkeley Passes 25-Cent Tax on Disposable Cups

The idea of trying to reduce what ends up in our landfills is laudable. But I have serious reservations about Berkeley's approach, which is basically a punitive "tax" that the restaurants are allowed to pocket, and the "solution" has serious sanitation issues. I think this idea needs rework.
 

Kamilah Hauptmann

This Reality Blows
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
3,423
Location
Cat Country (Can't Stop Here)
that the restaurants are allowed to pocket
I must be missing that part but on the surface that's what it looks like is going on. Just not seeing that spelled out in the article or the video. Or I'm blind.

Mind babble and rhetoricals to follow:
Niagara Falls, Ontario has something like that but it's a 'tourism improvement fee' for marketing the city, where the rate, and the name of the fee are set by the buisnesses with no governing body. It was very shady. This initiative in Berkley looks 'less shady' since it's a set rate for this purpose. Thinking was it pushed by local business to sell 25 cent cups in the wake of their $15/hour minimum wage?
 

Katheryne Helendale

🐱 Kitty Queen🐱
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
3,187
Location
Right... Behind... You...
SL Rez
2008
Joined SLU
October 2009

Kara Spengler

Queer OccupyE9 Sluni-Goon
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
3,317
Location
SL: November RL: DC
SL Rez
2007
Joined SLU
December, 2008
SLU Posts
23289
Berkeley Passes 25-Cent Tax on Disposable Cups

The idea of trying to reduce what ends up in our landfills is laudable. But I have serious reservations about Berkeley's approach, which is basically a punitive "tax" that the restaurants are allowed to pocket, and the "solution" has serious sanitation issues. I think this idea needs rework.
Yes, whether straws or cups these things, while the thought behind them is good to see, have lots of unintended consequences. Has anyone there calculated the ecological cost of the water and energy to wash all the cups for example? Or the health risks when a dirty cup get used?
 
Last edited:

danielravennest

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
1,169
SLU Posts
9073

Katheryne Helendale

🐱 Kitty Queen🐱
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
3,187
Location
Right... Behind... You...
SL Rez
2008
Joined SLU
October 2009

Samantha Fuller

New member
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
Messages
5
This is not really all that crazy. If you look at the financial calculations of fast food restrants this is more a discount for people who wash and bring their own cups. And as for the sanitary aspect you are aware that most Americans are in effect their own food saftey officers for their own kitchens.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
1,588
Location
NJ near Philly
SL Rez
2003
SLU Posts
4494
Some of these laws don't make a lot of sense. Here in Portland plastic straws are outlawed. So you sometimes get your drink in a big plastic cup with a paper straw.
 
  • 1Agree
Reactions: Brenda Archer

Katheryne Helendale

🐱 Kitty Queen🐱
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
3,187
Location
Right... Behind... You...
SL Rez
2008
Joined SLU
October 2009
This is not really all that crazy. If you look at the financial calculations of fast food restrants this is more a discount for people who wash and bring their own cups. And as for the sanitary aspect you are aware that most Americans are in effect their own food saftey officers for their own kitchens.
True, but I don't often eat from other people's kitchens.

I hesitate to call it a discount, though, especially if I can get the same drink cheaper by stepping outside Berkeley city limits. If they want to call it a discount, then they need to deduct 25 cents from the cost of a drink if I bring my own cup. I'd be behind that, though it still doesn't address the ick factor of someone filling a reusable cup that may or may not have been washed sometime this year.
 

Samantha Fuller

New member
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
Messages
5
True, but I don't often eat from other people's kitchens.

I hesitate to call it a discount, though, especially if I can get the same drink cheaper by stepping outside Berkeley city limits. If they want to call it a discount, then they need to deduct 25 cents from the cost of a drink if I bring my own cup. I'd be behind that, though it still doesn't address the ick factor of someone filling a reusable cup that may or may not have been washed sometime this year.
From the description of the law in effect they are required to give you a 25c discount if you bring your own cup that you presumably washed. And the way fast food restaurants work is the paper cup cost about 15c or 20c if plastic and the soda in it cost them about 5c and they sell it for $1.50 with a sandwich they might otherwise lose money on.
 

Kara Spengler

Queer OccupyE9 Sluni-Goon
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
3,317
Location
SL: November RL: DC
SL Rez
2007
Joined SLU
December, 2008
SLU Posts
23289
Some of these laws don't make a lot of sense. Here in Portland plastic straws are outlawed. So you sometimes get your drink in a big plastic cup with a paper straw.
Those laws are just reactionary. The big offenders are things like major industries. Sure, every little bit helps, but it helps more going after a huge part of the problem rather than a small thing that happened to get a pic on the evening news.

In the case of straws it is REALLY vile. There are some disabled people that need them to be available.
 

Sid

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
2,308
Location
NL
SL Rez
2007
Joined SLU
2009




About 90% of our one use plastic is not recycled but ends up in our oceans.
At the moment about 150 million metric tons (1.5 billion kilo) of plastic is floating in the oceans.

That's why.
 

Kara Spengler

Queer OccupyE9 Sluni-Goon
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
3,317
Location
SL: November RL: DC
SL Rez
2007
Joined SLU
December, 2008
SLU Posts
23289




About 90% of our one use plastic is not recycled but ends up in our oceans.
At the moment about 150 million metric tons (1.5 billion kilo) of plastic is floating in the oceans.

That's why.
Did you even READ my post?

Most of the problem comes from things like industry rather than end-user products. We are deciding policy based on what tugs at heartstrings instead of looking at what is the most effective thing to go after. Meanwhile, without a good alternative, we are causing even more problems for some segments of society.
 

Sid

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
2,308
Location
NL
SL Rez
2007
Joined SLU
2009
Did you even READ my post?
I didn't quote your post, because it wasn't really an answer on what you wrote. More a general remark.
We have to start somewhere. Pointing to others is not really efficient. There are simple solutions for replacing plastic straws and cups, plastic bags, and a lot of plastic packaging and whatnot of one use plastic.
 

Kara Spengler

Queer OccupyE9 Sluni-Goon
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
3,317
Location
SL: November RL: DC
SL Rez
2007
Joined SLU
December, 2008
SLU Posts
23289
I didn't quote your post, because it wasn't really an answer on what you wrote. More a general remark.
We have to start somewhere. Pointing to others is not really efficient. There are simple solutions for replacing plastic straws and cups, plastic bags, and a lot of plastic packaging and whatnot of one use plastic.
Maybe you should read it because it addresses exactly what you were talking about. No, they are not 'simple' solutions.They seem to be unless you are affected by the change. Ask physically disabled people what they think about not having disposable straws available. Ask anyone involved with food safety what they think of (potentially dirty) customer-supplied mugs entering the food prep area. Again, the vast majority of the problem is nowhere near what end users experience. Yes, every little bit helps but efforts are more useful dealing with oh, industrial runoff, then things like straws in a couple of cities.
 

Innula Zenovka

Nasty Brit
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
3,289
SLU Posts
18459
True, but I don't often eat from other people's kitchens.

I hesitate to call it a discount, though, especially if I can get the same drink cheaper by stepping outside Berkeley city limits. If they want to call it a discount, then they need to deduct 25 cents from the cost of a drink if I bring my own cup. I'd be behind that, though it still doesn't address the ick factor of someone filling a reusable cup that may or may not have been washed sometime this year.
I think the point of the legislation is to encourage people to bring their own reusable cups /flasks when ordering take-away coffee rather than to use the disposable ones offered by the coffee shop. I have one.

It's the same principle, I think, of "nudge" legislation that's been use here in the UK to encourage people to use their own bags at retailers (often reusable ones sold by the same store) rather than to use the shop's own single use ones by imposing a small tax, collected as a surcharge at the checkout, on single-use bags they used to supply for free.

The idea is simply to switch the retailer's default behaviour from supplying single-use disposable bag to asking if the customer needs a bag and the customer's default behaviour, which has worked in my case, to bringing a reusable bag along to the shop rather than expecting the retailer to supply one.

So, in this case, Berkeley want to encourage (rather than force) people to bring their own cup with them, fill up with coffee on the way to work in the normal way, only with their cup rather than the coffee-shop's, and then wash their cup either at work or home, thus saving the city from having to deal with all the disposable cups discarded there every day.

The city is trying to do this by making the coffee shop/fast food outlet employees ask everyone "do you want a disposable cup with that for 25 cents, or do you have your own?" (and probably offering to sell them a permanent one if they don't have one) rather than putting the onus on the customer to tell the server that she's brought her own cup.

Seems perfectly sensible to me.
 
Last edited:

Kara Spengler

Queer OccupyE9 Sluni-Goon
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
3,317
Location
SL: November RL: DC
SL Rez
2007
Joined SLU
December, 2008
SLU Posts
23289
For awhile my fave salad place was selling reusable bowls. Eventually the food inspectors noticed and they had to stop, it was a nightmare waiting to happen.

Anyway, it was the way that makes sense. If you wanted you could get their normal bowls at the normal price. During this you could buy a reusable bowl for $5 and save 50 cents each time. So if you were a regular it made sense but if not it did not make sense so you used one of their compostable bowls for no more than you paid before they started this. Too bad they did not have a good solution for the cleanliness thing since people were on the honor system to wash their bowls between them going back to the food prep area.
 

Ashiri

√(-1)
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
470
Location
RL: NZ
SL Rez
2007
SLU Posts
-1
How the hell did society function before single use items? I really am wondering what's happened.
 
  • 1Agree
Reactions: Beebo Brink

danielravennest

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
1,169
SLU Posts
9073
How the hell did society function before single use items? I really am wondering what's happened.
We didn't use to eat out that much, and certainly not in our vehicles. And when people went to diners and coffee shops, they got china plates and cups and metal utensils, and dishwasher was a job description. Fast food restaurants and cup-holders have changed people's dining habits.