Truckee's 25-Cent Cup and Container Fee Goes Into Effect January 1, 2024
December 12, 2023
Starting January 1, 2024, a 25-cent fee will be applied to each disposable cup and food container provided for to-go orders at food establishments in Truckee. Like the disposable bag fee at grocery stores, the 25-cent fee is intended to incentivize customers to bring their own reusable cup or food container. The goal is to create a cultural shift towards reusable foodware and reduce the amount of waste generated. Disposable foodware products require energy and resources to produce, only to be used once and thrown away. These products also often end up in the environment and make up 68% of litter found in Truckee.
The 25-cent fee will be applied to single-use takeout cups and containers such as rigid paper or plastic boxes, soup containers, coffee cups, and soda cups. The fee will not be applied to “light” disposable packaging such as foil or paper wraps. Food vendors will retain the fee revenue. Customers can avoid this fee by bringing their own reusable cup or takeout container, or by choosing dine-in instead of to-go.
Customers can also participate in Truckee’s reusable green box program to avoid the disposable container fee. Green boxes can be purchased for five dollars at participating restaurants, and then each box can be reused and returned at any participating restaurant for free. When you place your to-go order, simply request your meal in a reusable green box. Bring your box with you to exchange it for your meal provided in a new green box, then repeat at any participating restaurant!
Customers receiving WIC, EBT, CalFresh/SNAP, or Medi-Cal benefits are exempt from the 25-cent disposable cup and container fee. Eligible customers can simply ask their cashier for the “Community Support Exemption,” and are not required to present documentation showing participation in these programs.
In addition to the 25-cent disposable cup and container fee, food establishments in Truckee will be required to provide all reusable foodware for customers dining-in starting January 1, 2024. This policy is estimated to prevent 130,000 pounds of waste town-wide each year. Businesses may apply for a one-year waiver if they have unique challenges implementing this requirement.
The Town of Truckee is providing one-on-one technical assistance to Truckee food vendors to provide support in implementing these changes. The Town is also providing grant funding to assist businesses in purchasing reusable foodware and dishwashing equipment. Up to $1,500 is available for businesses, and the application deadline has been extended to March 1, 2024.
These requirements are included in Truckee’s Single-Use Foodware Reduction Ordinance, which was adopted by the Town Council on November 8, 2022. The ordinance also includes a ban on the sale and distribution of polystyrene foam products (e.g., Styrofoam), which went into effect April 1, 2023. In addition, starting January 1, 2024, accessory foodware items may only be provided if requested by the customer. This includes utensils, chopsticks, condiment cups and packets, straws, stirrers, splash sticks, cocktail sticks, napkins, cup lids, and cup sleeves.
The ordinance will apply to restaurants, food service establishments, coffee shops, bakeries, bars, drugstores, and grocery stores. The ordinance will not apply to food trucks or special events. For more information on the ordinance, visit KeepTruckeeGreen.org/SingleUse.