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In Berkeley’s latest effort to reduce foodware waste, the city will introduce a pilot program to use loaner coffee cups at several cafés this September.
Caffe Strada, Free Speech Cafe, and Cafe Moffitt are a few of the businesses on or surrounding the UC Berkeley campus that will be participating in the program, according to Berkeley-based non-profit the Ecology Center. They will partner with Vessel, a reusable to-go stainless steel cup service based in Boulder, Colo.
But what ensures caffeine-addicted Cal students will return these shiny, environmentally friendly coffee-holding wonders? Surely not just the honor system?
Of course not. If you don’t return your cup within five days, you’re paying for it. Customers check out the cup by scanning a QR code with their phone, then must return the cup to any participating business within five days — or incur a fine. Dirty cups are then fetched by Vessel via bicycle, sent to a sanitizing station, and delivered back to cafes for reuse.
“Bringing back reusables is our ultimate goal,” said Councilwoman Sophie Hahn in a news release. “They worked for millennia, and I am confident we can make them work again. This reuse pilot will allow us to explore new approaches to adapt reusables to current expectations for convenience, reduce waste and litter, and help our small businesses offer products that are attractive and convenient for customers.”
The loaner cup program is part of Berkeley’s new Single-Use Disposable Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance. The first phase of the ordinance, which limits businesses’ use of disposable foodware items such as straws, napkins, and utensils, was implemented in March.
Next up? Starting in January 2020, Berkeley vendors must go fully compostable, and charge a 25-cent fee for each disposable cup they provide. Now might be a great time to invest in that reusable cup — or, if you can’t make that investment, check out the loaning program.
Madeline Wells is an SFGate editorial assistant. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @madwells22
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Berkeley-reusable-coffee-cup-loaner-Vessel-Strada-14120049.php.