Berkeley to pilot reusable coffee cup program

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- As part of its ongoing commitment to reducing the use of paper and plastics within its city limits, Berkeley is launching a pilot program to use loaner coffee cups at several cafés in town.

If recyclable is good, then reusable is even better.

"Your recyclable cup is a great step in the right direction," explained Erika Evearitt, with the Ecology Center in Berkeley, "But what we want to try to go toward is complete reusables."

It's all part of Berkeley's new "Single Use Disposable Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance," a mouthful aimed at getting people to use fewer food and drink containers.

"One of the options we're finding is the more options you have the more results you get," said City Councilmember Sophie Hahn. "Some people, for example if you're in a dorm room, don't really have facilities for washing a cup every day."

The Berkeley pilot will utilize stainless steel re-usable cups produced by a Colorado company called "Vessel." The loaner is free. It just needs to be returned to a Vessel kiosk within five days.

"We are health department certified," explained Vessel co-founder Dagny Tucker. "We wash and sanitize everything and even distribute it in health department certified food grade containers."

The popular Caffe Strada near U.C. Berkeley is one of several restaurants that will participate in the pilot, starting in mid-September.

"We're in Berkeley and I've been here for 30 years," said Daryl Ross, the owner of Caffe Strada and several other restaurants on and around campus. "I feel like we know the customers pretty well and everyone is pretty attuned to environmental issues."

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