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Next time you stop by a cafe and order a coffee to-go, you may need to BYOC.
Earlier this year, some Bay Area coffee shops got rid of disposable cups and now even more will require customers to either bring their own or “rent” a mug.
Berkeley is pioneering the new trend, having passed a disposable cup fee, and shops will begin charging customers 25 cents for every disposable cup used beginning this January.
Ahead of the change, the city has piloted a program that lets customers rent real mugs and be able to return them at 11 locations throughout the city, according to the Chronicle.
The trend is spreading to Palo Alto where they’ll implement the same policy in 2021, and perhaps San Francisco, where similar legislation has been proposed.
The change is inspired by a report by Oakland nonprofit For Here Please, which studied the environmental impact of cafes and estimates that coffee shops use anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 disposable cups every week.
Several Berkeley shops began participating in a program with a Colorado start-up named Vessel that lets customers avoid the 25 cent fee and instead rent a cup, with a hefty $15 fee if it isn’t returned. Oakland coffee shop Perch offers yet another alternative, glass jars for rent for a much more affordable 50-cent deposit. Blue Bottle also plans to create a zero-waste café of their own, although no further details have been announced.
Despite the hypothesis that the change may burden shops, Perch states that it doesn’t take the staff much more time to clean jars than it does to restock disposables, but cafes without dishwashing capabilities would likely suffer.
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