There was hearty support Tuesday night for an effort to make Berkeley "disposable free." Photo: Emilie Raguso
There was hearty support Tuesday night for an effort to make Berkeley “disposable free.” Photo: Emilie Raguso

In 1988, Berkeley was the first city to ban Styrofoam. More recently, it joined in the wave to ditch plastic bags. Tuesday night, city leaders voted to jettison, in large part, disposable plastic foodware, kicking off a citywide effort to eradicate restaurant waste made of single-use food packaging by 2020.

Councilwoman Sophie Hahn and Mayor Jesse Arreguín described their new law as “the most ambitious, comprehensive legislation to reduce throw-away foodware in the United States.” It won unanimous approval Tuesday after several dozen speakers — policy experts, school children, sustainability advocates and even some local businesses — urged officials to vote yes.

“Berkeley could be the ‘environmental pace car of the nation.’” — Annie Leonard, Executive Director, Greenpeace

Under the new law, disposable compostable straws, lids, stirrers, cup spill plugs, napkins and utensils for take-out will now be provided only on request or at self-serve stations. By 2020, all dine-in foodware will be reusable, and all take-out foodware will be compostable. Starting in 2020, there will also be a 25-cent charge for disposable cups to get customers to bring their own.

Berkeley resident Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace, told council Tuesday that the city could be the “environmental pace car of the nation” as it demonstrates how to turn away from the dysfunction of disposable foodware.

“The ordinance is comprehensive and acts with the urgency needed to confront the throwaway culture that fuels overconsumption,” said Leonard in a prepared statement. “It is the most forward-thinking approach we’ve seen to date in this country, and one that other cities and states should look toward in shaping their own efforts to phase out single-use plastics.”

Hahn, who received effusive praise from the public and her colleagues on the dais for her efforts to craft a thoughtful law that was responsive to community concerns, said she believed it to be the “best first try” possible — and leaves room for adjustments as the city learns from the process.

“We are doing something new here. We are doing something that hasn’t been done before,” said Hahn. She said Berkeley had been the first city in the nation to take the bold step of providing curbside recycling, adding: “This is our chance to be bold again.”

Arreguín, who called into the meeting from Washington, D.C., said the law would “continue Berkeley’s proud tradition” in environmental advocacy and show cities around the nation that it’s possible to reduce plastic waste before it’s created. He said it would also be an important step toward the city’s “zero waste” goal.

Students from Oxford Elementary urged the city to support the effort to reduce plastic disposables. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Community members and officials alike said they were inspired by a group of Oxford Elementary School students who came to the meeting to describe the importance of cutting down on disposable plastics. The students were able to reduce all their plastic waste to fit in a tiny bucket.

“If they can do it, we can do it,” Arreguín said.

Councilwoman Kate Harrison said that, as a coastal city on the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley has a “unique obligation” to take a strong stance on environmental efforts. She said Berkeley’s trash goes into the bay and ends up on the beaches of countries like Indonesia.

“This will change the way we live in a very fundamental way,” Harrison said. “It’s a very small leap of faith… to believe our community can do something terrific.”

“This will change the way we live in a very fundamental way.” — City Councilwoman Kate Harrison

The law could also inspire businesses outside Berkeley to change their ways and cause a “ripple effect,” said Councilman Rigel Robinson.

Councilwoman Susan Wengraf said the ordinance would be the “first step in putting pressure on manufacturers to stop manufacturing these toxins,” which would ultimately be an even more significant move in protecting the environment.

Before the vote, a parade of experts and advocates shared extensive data with officials about why the law would make such an impact. According to its authors, a coalition of more than 1,000 local, national and international organizations supported the ordinance as part of the Break Free From Plastic movement. They include UpStream, The Story of Stuff Project, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Plastic Pollution Coalition and Surfrider Foundation.

Miriam Gordon, program director of Upstream Solutions, noted that litter is so bad on some commercial streets in Berkeley that they have to be swept four times a day. She said the 25-cent cup charge would likely be as effective as a similar charge has been on plastic bags, prompting an 80% increase in reusable bag use.

Gordon told council many Berkeley food businesses already use reusables for dining onsite: “You must tell the other 50% to do the same in order to reduce the enormous environmental impacts associated with single-use food packaging.”

Martin Bourque, executive director of the Ecology Center, the nonprofit that has collected Berkeley’s recycling since 1973, told council that foodware waste makes up two-thirds of street litter in the Bay Area and that the average person uses about 235 disposable cups each year.

“Most of the single-use plastic foodware has no value in today’s recycling markets. With China’s ban on importing plastic scrap, cities are actually paying to get rid of it,” said Bourque, who also was a key champion of the new law. “We cannot recycle our way out of the disposable foodware problem. We have to focus on reduction.”

Speakers said local businesses have actually seen cost savings as a result of moving away from disposables.

In addition, the city will provide hardship waivers to businesses that simply cannot afford to comply with the new law, and mini-grants to businesses that need help to get on board with the new law.

Phil Harrington, Public Works director, said he would need to add staff to implement the new law, along with other start-up costs. He did not mention any specific figures. Harrington said there is money in the city’s Zero Waste fund to support the ordinance, which will require a multi-departmental approach involving public works, planning and environmental health staff, as well as collaboration with “community partners” and the Zero Waste Commission.

“There’s still a lot of unknowns in the process going forward,” Harrington said, adding that he hadn’t “really truly identified” what the costs will be. But he assured officials it would work out: “We are prepared to support and fund this project moving forward.”

Emilie Raguso

Emilie Raguso (senior editor, news) joined the Berkeleyside team in 2012. She covers politics, public safety and development. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...

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146 Comments

  1. The ordinance doesn’t require you to bring your own utensils. It does require businesses to offer reusable utensils to you if you choose to stay and eat on-site starting in July of 2020. Eventually the City might decide to require businesses to charge you for single use utensils that you take to-go like they are going to start doing for beverage containers in January of 2020.

  2. The intention is to move away from single use foodware altogether, but when needed, compostable fiber foodware is the better choice since there are many problems with compostable plastic foodware. The other main thing is that the ordinance gives the City the authority to decide what is compostable – not the general public or private sector.

  3. The law requires that all single use take-out materials be compostable. It also requires that certain items be available only by request.

  4. Berkeley has a trash TMDL because we generate so much of it from our streets. The cost is not small. This is an important financial step and shows great foresight.

  5. Wow Jill Stein and Bernie Both? How are you liking president Trump who you elected by supporting those two.

  6. This is why it’s so important to not use disposable plastics in the first place. Recycling is a good idea but not using plastic in the first place is what we should be aspiring to. This effort is a good idea.

  7. not “tens of millions”
    just ten million
    big difference there

    But Doug F is correct. If Starbucks actually cared, they would provide actual alternatives instead of fooling people by saying ‘look at all this money we threw at the problem’

  8. Still waiting for the names of the officials who were elected by “the majority of the people in Berkeley”? Do you have a list?

  9. Still waiting for the names of the officials who were elected by “the majority of the people in Berkeley”? This is for Pietro btw

  10. Still waiting for the names of the officials who were elected by “the majority of the people in Berkeley”? Do you have a list?

  11. No, it’s just that the type of folks who flock to city council meetings to comment and the folks who read Berkeleyside and like to comment are two different groups. We have no evidence to determine which group constitutes/represents the larger set.

  12. How & when did Berkeley count street litter? Had the homeless encampment at the foot of University Ave. been Berkeley prop. Would that- the whole giant mess bee considered street litter? So methodology & time please.

  13. This study is kind of silly, because the energy used to produce a ceramic cup in a community kiln, or the energy used to produce a Kleen Kanteen, is nowhere near as detrimental as the massive amount of trash choking our planet.

  14. What about the trash left by the homeless, the human feces and the sleeping bags on the sidewalks. I’m all for sustainability, but there is no sustainability about the garbage littering Berkeley’s streets.

  15. Name one who in recent years received a majority vote…(more than 50%) of the people of Berkeley?

  16. Quite the opposite. If you lived here and tried ranked choice voting for yourself, instead of repeating nay-sayers like a sheeple, you’d see it works really well at REQUIRING elected officials to be elected by a majority of voters.

  17. We better get this RIGHT, and get REALLY SMART about how we discuss this, especially on social media. If we convincingly demonstrate a system that effectively reduces solid waste without burdening businesses or annoying customers, this really could be the vanguard of a major nationwide wave significantly reducing consumption of plastic and paper, and reducing solid waste and pollution of our land and seas. If we allow it to be portrayed (rightly or wrongly) as an ineffective burdensome hassle, it’ll galvanize the corporatists and make it actually harder to get new waste reduction programs or policies elsewhere.

  18. Thank you for saying this. That false equivalence is a sign of a doctrinaire and binary view of political thought.

  19. Questions for you:

    (1) Why are you so damn defensive that you think everyone who disagrees with you is a “right-winger”?

    (2) Why do you consider “virtue signaling” any less of a dumb-cliche than terms of derision used by the left such as “bible thumper”?

    (3) You claim use of such phrases indicates that they are too dumb to discuss the merits of the issues. Could not one say the same about people who call out people for such phrases, or play nitpicky grammar/semantics games, such as one individual we know around here?

    The defense rests.

  20. So how will we feed the homeless? Do they have to carry a metal fork also or do the homeless get a pass from you and the city on this also.

  21. Which council member was elected by “the majority of people in Berkeley”? Have you heard of ranked choice voting? it makes it so the members are elected not even the majority of the district let alone the majority of the city. Its also not the majority of the people in Berkeley, I think you are trying for the majority of voters but not even the case here.

  22. Another vote for the awesomeness of El Cerrito’s recycling center. The organization and set up is brilliant. It’s well maintained. And it makes recycling just about anything very, very easy.

  23. I use the term “virtue signaling” from time to time and I have voted for Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders. It is not exclusive to “right-wingers” as you pretend.

  24. The replies all show that commenters did not read it all:
    “Compare the comments on Berkeleyside with the public comments at Council and the unanimous support from elected councilmembers”
    It was unanimously and strongly supported by all the councilmembers who were elected by the majority of people in Berkeley.

  25. When you live in any political monoculture, be it on the right, or the left, there is immense social pressure to conform to the prevailing sentiment, or to stay silent if you are ever so slightly off-message. In fact the fear of the latter causes a race to outflank one another.

    Translation: no reasonable person would want to perpetuate a culture of single-use products of any kind. Whether this ordinance is of any consequence to reality on the ground, or anyone else outside Berkeley, or commensurate with the problems that are truly bogging the city down is highly debatable.

  26. Burning your trash in the fireplace would also be much more economical than paying the CoB to pick it up and dispose. But that’s entirely irrelevant, because burning your trash in the fireplace is illegal. Precisely because that would be so cheap to you yet entirely unsustainable for the rest of us.

    So let me repeat slowly for you again: It’s illegal to landfill in several European countries. So it’s not even remotely a question of cost. I know this from first-hand experience while working and living there. The point is that those societies have decided to spend money in order to implement green policy while we have instead chosen to just talk the talk and then turn around and dump (plus we banned straws, yay!).

    Now of course incineration is more expensive than dumping, but not financing that extra effort (for example through fees levied when collecting trash or at sale of items requiring expensive recycling) is a choice we make. Just as we make a choice to keep dumping legal. We can either signal virtue by banning straws or we can modify our policies. The latter costs money, but neglecting to take action while spouting green holier-than-thou slogans amounts to nothing but hypocrisy. The proponents of such behavior shall be repeatedly called out until they either smarten up or die out.

  27. It’s obvious that the people who have the time to attend multi-hour city council meetings on their pet issue have very different ideas from the majority of people in Berkeley.

  28. Do you have a better term? Personally, I like “Make a big fuss over something inconsequential in the greater scheme of things so we can pat ourselves on the back for being oh-so-wonderful human beings, because it’s safer than taking an unpopular position because somebody might call us a racist or homophobe, or even worse, a Republican, and we don’t have to get off our lazy butts and actually solve the problem”, but “virtue signaling” is a lot shorter and gets the message across.

  29. It is just as easy for you to throw those things in the trash yourself as it is for you to put them in the recycling bin to have them sorted out and thrown into the trash by someone at a processing facility later. Those items are simply not recyclable.

  30. The amount of those plastic air bags that Amazon includes in every box is absurd. The environmental impact from that company is horrendous.

  31. You forgot the most important part — they’ll ticket you if you’re not wearing a bike helmet. PS -Thanks for the update on the Auto Trigger; I hadn’t seen that yet.

  32. Compare the comments on Berkeleyside with the public comments at Council and the unanimous support from elected councilmembers, and it becomes very obvious that Berkeleyside commenters have very different ideas from the majority of people in Berkeley.

    I just wish they could comment without using dumb right-wing cliches like “virtue signalling.”

  33. On our street, wrappers from individually wrapped kid snacks is 2/3 the waste. I never see foodware. I’m sure Nature Valley would love to ship their granola bars in biodegradeable packaging.

  34. This would have been an issue for the kids table city council that I have proposed elsewhere. Grown up council is allowed to discuss only pensions, public safety, and infrastructure. Kids table focuses on straws, welcome signs, and throw away containers.

  35. Typo? ” Under the new law, disposable compostable straws, lids, stirrers, cup spill plugs, napkins and utensils for take-out will now be provided only on request or at self-serve stations.” — isn’t it just disposable straws, lids, etc. that is only on request, not compostable?

  36. It is obvious that the people who elect the councilmembers are the majority of people in Berkeley.

    “the unanimous support from elected councilmembers”

  37. Questions: 1)Why is it that many right-wingers are unable to discuss the merits of the issues and instead attack the character of all progressives? 2)Why do they tend to use cliches like virtue signaling?

    Answers 1)They are to dumb to discuss the merits of the issues. 2)They are too dumb even to think of original insults.

    Rule of Karma: If someone deals in personal insults, they have to expect to get personal insults as replies.

  38. Right- they banned camping at the bulb and aggressively enforced the ban at the same time. Unless you close down the campsites immediately as the campers are paid to leave, you can expect more campers. Berkeley is not going to close the sites, so…

  39. To be fair to Peets, the liner is what keeps the grounds fresh, a plain paper bag might yield noticeably inferior coffee within a week or so. Hard to ask a company to do something that makes their product worse.
    They do (or used to) sell sealed jars that you could store beans/grounds in. I bet if you brought your jar they’d gladly fill it.

  40. First? The Los Angeles Times reported in 1988 Berkeley’s ban was “patterned after one passed earlier this year in Suffolk County on New York’s Long Island.” (same link as in Emilie’s story)

    And I can testify from personal experience that in 1987 and 1988 there were “Ban CFCs” (chlorofluorocarbons) marches in several East Coast cities, directed at eliminating polystyrene (Styrofoam®).

    Berkeley can be good at leading, but here it was good at jumping early on the bandwagon. Santa Monica will join us soon, I’m sure.

  41. Yes you are missing something.

    The Ohlone greenway, which is barely bikeable in Berkeley, has been nicely upgraded in el Cerrito.

    One nice feature is AUTOMATIC signal trigger for peds and bikes. See the white boxes on both sides of the path here in this picture. When you walk or bike there the car signal automatically comes on on Moser.

    No Beg Button!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/81f275ef2d85e71519315d9b7c66ad0da577fc102ce251b236ea9556ea1922bd.jpg

    El Cerrito also very good Thai food (Larb) and a movie theater with food and couches.

    http://www.el-cerrito.org/930/Ohlone-Greenway-Improvements

    https://sf.streetsblog.org/2018/04/27/advocates-and-city-luminaries-celebrate-gap-closure-on-richmond-ohlone-greenway/

  42. Nobody goes to Council meetings because its toxic. The Peanut gallery is unhinged and toxic. 3 of the councilpeople are pretty toxic too- they cannot virtue signal because they are too angry and triggered about make believe stories about the Police.

  43. The public can comment on the consent calendar. If it were on the consent calendar, the same 100 people would have come to comment, and the meeting would have been less able to get business done, because it would have been late in the evening before they even got to approving the consent calendar.

  44. If we need to carry around our own eating utensils anywhere we go in Berkeley, then we are truly forked.

  45. Actually, the main reason for the difference is that landfilling is more expensive in Europe than in the US. In Europe, incineration can compete economically, but in the US it cannot.

  46. so it follows that each of us should not try to reduce our carbon emissions. brilliant argument.

  47. This law mandates compostable or reusable dishes, utensils, etc. – which can all be composted or reused.

    This is nothing like batteries, which are too expensive to recycle.

  48. Right…we should probably call it “Berkeley signaling” because we’re good at it and have the very best examples. My favorite is the Berkeley resolution condemning Yulin China for their lychee and dog meat festival. The Council can’t be bothered to condemn rapes in Berkeley or even investigate why the police didn’t test rape kits for years. Or condemn gangs at Berkeley High that led to the death of a student. Better to tell Yulin China what to do. Maybe Yulin should tell Berkeley to address it’s crime problems, or homeless problems, or unfunded pensions, or all the rest of the problems we don’t seem to be able to manage.

  49. And we have the Jessevilles recycling our recyclables onto the sidewalks and parks and then into the Bay–cheaper than Hamburg’s solution.

  50. The recycling center is so nice, it’s almost a joy to go there. They take non-narcotic leftover medication, batteries, electronic stuff, plastic sheeting. Have one of the charity-donation trucks, sometimes Goodwill sometimes other. Also a giant book recycling like a mega-little-free-library. Clean, neat, nice people. Usually no problem parking. No bums, no long wait to get in. Just outside, an on-leash uphill hiking trail.

  51. It’s possible that both are goals, though none will actually have measured objectives.

  52. There are all sorts of ways to package and market products responsibly. it takes commitment/motivation -which for most businesses will be a stick rather than a carrot….

  53. Yes, this is a good idea, but it’s a distraction from the real issues. This should have been on the consent calendar, voted on and then on to real business. But no, let’s talk about it ad nauseum and then ignore other issues (like unfunded liabilities, the looming iceberg that the Council can’t seem to see.)

  54. This is absolutely true, but it’s not at all just a Hamburg thing. Landfills are outright illegal in countries like Sweden or Switzerland. They incinerate their trash and use the generated energy for heating. Same in Holland.

    But it’s us here in the holier-than-though Bay Area where we think we’re so progressive because we banned straws, yet we still dump all our junk into landfills (or send it to Chinese landfills which we then call ‘recycling’). This only works because so few Americans have a clue about how other industrialized countries work. Sure, why should we? After all, we’re the greatest, the God chosen, yada yada. Sigh.

  55. Martin Bourque, executive director of the Ecology Center, the nonprofit
    that has collected Berkeley’s recycling since 1973, told council that
    foodware waste makes up two-thirds of street litter in the Bay Area

  56. El Cerrito does not actually recycle most of those things. Many of the things put in Berkeley’s recycling bins aren’t recyclable either. If you follow the waste stream far enough those items just get diverted to the dump along with everything else.

  57. Right, but the way the story is worded it makes it sound like the law will require compostable cups by 2020, *and* will add a 25 cent tax for those same compostable cups. But I couldn’t quite parse it, that might not be what the actual regulation would do.

  58. But it doesn’t have 1/4 of the other items TJ’s has at TJ’s prices.
    Compostable bags shows TJ is aware of plastic issue. Give them an alternative.
    My TJ ‘s also gives away $1 million in groceries yearly to non profits.

  59. The nice thing about the 2020 delayed effective date is that it gives small businesses a chance to move out of Berkeley. The last straw for many of them. Probably no analysis of cost/benefit by city, it’s just virtue

  60. I’m glad we are making progress in putting a price in single serve waste, though the incentive is misguided. This fee that customers pay should be split with most going to a tax to clean up all the wastew we have created, rather than funding more expensive and potentially just as wasteful plastic alternatives. They’re is no such thing as an easily compostable plastic -takes 120 plus degrees to decompise and can still float in the ocean…forever. additionally, land Must be dedicated to grow ever more corn and intensive energy resources used to refine, mold, package and deliver those items to restaurants.

    The only truly long term solutions are bring your own or do without altogether.. Millions of Americans carry their own water bottle, why not carry a fork, too?

  61. I kinda think we need to focus on all of the crap the homeless produce…That amounts to way more than a few plastic forks will ever add up to…But of course hypocritical Berkeley will always focus on the easy stuff instead of the real problems.

  62. If Starbucks cared, it’d automatically offer the option of porcelain cups when you’re drinking in the café.

  63. > Regardless of whether it matters, this was clearly a constituent-driven initiative that Council was heeding, not a lookatme virtue signal.
    Nothing’s stopping it from being both. But see my position on this above.

  64. I haven’t seen details of where German recycling or other cities’ trash goes. I can tell you for a fact that Hamburg (where I lived for 7yr), a city of 1.7 million, produces *zero* landfill–doesn’t even have a dump site. Everything possible is recycled (in big curbside bins on every block), & everything else is burned into inert ash in its very clean-burning 3000-degree cogeneration plant, producing superheated steam sent all over the city in underground pipes for space heating. Our own apt building, about 5mi from the plant, used it. Even the lost heat helps melt ice on the streets.

  65. Milk cartons are dipped in plastic too…non-compostable. I need to look into Strauss again. They have glass milk bottles you can trade in, right?

  66. And then into the Bay and then the ocean, and then to end washed up on a beach in Indonesia to give Kate Harrison another nonsensical comparison. Can somebody please focus on the real problems confronting Berkeley?

  67. Councilwoman Kate Harrison seems to be woefully misinformed about almost every issue she speaks to.

  68. Same with the soda tax. They don’t stop selling it; they tax it. They need more money and more publicity so they find more things that people are likely to use and tax them.

  69. I’ll bet that our plastic that Hahn suggests “ends up on the beaches of countries like Indonesia,” got there via our recycling bins. “Nearly half of plastic waste exported from the US for recycling was shipped to Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam…” See here: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/oct/05/huge-rise-us-plastic-waste-shipments-to-poor-countries-china-ban-thailand-malaysia-vietnam

    China previously was the main recipient of our plastic but they’ve banned waste imports. So if China couldn’t figure out how to economically use the plastic, how do we think these other countries manage it. Perhaps they recycle what they can and dump the rest in their rivers. As noted, about 90% of ocean plastics comes from just 10 rivers, 8 of which are in Asia. Here: https://www.dw.com/en/almost-all-plastic-in-the-ocean-comes-from-just-10-rivers/a-41581484. (has some great pics)

    Does anyone follow-up on where our plastics actually go or are we just happy to be rid of them.

  70. People make this argument often…why waste time on [symbolic action] when [real world problem] needs solving? Seems specious to me, since it assumes the Council would then actually use the extra hours to tackle homelessness or crime or whatever. While I generally think such vanguardism has limited impact, sometimes over time it does (say, boycotting apartheid South Africa). In any case, pinning this on Arreguin is mistaken, Whether or not you agree, many people showed up to many City Council meetings and lobbied in various ways to promote this policy. Regardless of whether it matters, this was clearly a constituent-driven initiative that Council was heeding, not a lookatme virtue signal.

    One can take or leave this policy and still hold the Mayor and Council accountable for their failure to deal with real problems.

  71. But yet when you go and visit Tokyo, it’s one of the cleanest major metropolitans you can see. We’re the idiots who don’t know how to deal with our trash.

  72. Because the goal is to virtue-signal and raise taxes yet again. The goal is not about the environment.

  73. Same with carbon emissions when you add a few neighboring countries to the list. But Americans are bad and Berkeley is going to make a difference. Berkeley vs. 1/4 of the world’s population. Right. Can’t even clean up the parks over here…

  74. I stopped going to Trader Joes for that reason. I understand that plastic is probably still the best way to package many food items, but as you say, they wrap even the produce in plastic! They appear to still have lots of consumers, so my dislike of their packaging doesn’t seem to be hurting their bottom line. If anyone from TJ’s is reading though… you could have one more customer back! 🙂 $$$!

  75. on the other hand the plastic bags they TJ’s have in their stores are compostable bags as opposed to the plastic bags most stores give out. they don’t have scales at their registers so they cannot weigh purchases- it’s by the piece or prepack.

  76. Yay!
    Finally the crazy coffee shops that only offer disposable cups may start to offer porcelain again!
    Maybe we’ll get discounts for bringing our own cups again, like the old days!

  77. Yes, that is a good next step.
    I’m always surprised at how much waste is generated in our kitchen from Trader Joe’s vs Berkely Bowl bulk & produce.

  78. They are tidy but the garbage doesn’t stay in Japan. It probably goes to..? Some other country. Like how German trash ends up in Romania

  79. Berkeley’s Mayor Jesse Arreguin has in fact explicitly spoken out against cameras to deter crime.

  80. I could not believe it when I heard that on KQED this morning. The city infrastructure is literally crumbling around us, our public land is being taken over by invaders who are filling it with toxic piles of trash, and Mayor Jesse Arreguin is willfully ignoring all of it in favor of virtue signaling bans on plastic cups.

    What will it take for Mayor Jesse Arreguin to take his job seriously? Will a Berkeley homeowner have to be murdered in one of these homeless camps before he is finally willing to get off his ass and do something about them?

  81. As I read your comment my first thought was the tweets, texts, and instagram posts all saying “come to berkeley and get your ten grand!”. 9_9

  82. Good. Peets is one of the worst offenders. Never composts disposable cups. Lids are non-compostable. When you ask for china cups, staff says they’re all out. Has been this way for over ten years. Peets customers alone could lessen the landfill and save our oceans by tons, each month.

  83. Good. Now can we say good riddance (mostly) to the homeless 1% destroying the quality of life for the 99%?

    Pay them a fair amount ($10k sounds about right) to leave California for a place of their choosing.

  84. As a footnote, how many have noticed the disappearance of the large containers for plastic bag “recycling”?

    (Hint: Maybe businesses should take responsibility for all the plastic produce bags they dole out….)

  85. Sure, let’s add to the headcount at city hall and the unfunded pensions and unfunded retiree health care.

  86. Asian nations’ usage of plastic is extraordinary. Japan, considered first world, packages everything in ridiculous plastic. Its an artform to package every stupid cookie in a wrapper.

  87. “Councilwoman Kate Harrison…said Berkeley’s trash goes into the bay and ends up on the beaches of countries like Indonesia.”

    I support just about anything that starts to reign in our plastic consumption but the amount of plastics from Berkeley ending up in Indonesia isn’t the biggest issue they have going.

    “China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are dumping more plastic into oceans than the rest of the world combined, according to a 2017 report by Ocean Conservancy.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/hannahleung/2018/04/21/five-asian-countries-dump-more-plastic-than-anyone-else-combined-how-you-can-help/#696b4f0f1234

  88. Could we get as many people interested in reducing robberies and assaults in Berkeley? This ordinance sounds fine, but it’s interesting where Berkeley’s priorities are. For example, Berkeley’s mayor wants cameras to deter garbage dumpers but not to deter violent assaults.

  89. I expect other cities will imitate this ordinance, and it will end up being as influential as Berkeley’s ban on styrofoam takeout containers and our curbside recycling efforts.

  90. Good. Peets is one of the worst offenders. Never composts disposable cups. Lids are non-compostable. When you ask for china cups, staff says they’re all out. Has been this way for over ten years. Peets customers alone could lessen the landfill and save our oceans by tons, each month.

  91. Probably the most egregious uses of plastic are not from coffeshops and restaurants but stores. Beloved Trader Joes is a plastic disaster. Even produce is wrapped in plastic. Toeing the line between ecology and safe food supply(maybe thats a plastic industry concoction) is bot going to be easy