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Santa Cruz County implementing disposable cup fee in unincorporated areas

SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF/BCN) – Santa Cruz County officials this week encouraged residents in unincorporated areas to take reusable cups to restaurants, food trucks and other venues to avoid paying a disposable cup fee that will go into effect July 1.

Following the June 7 approval of Measure C by Santa Cruz County voters, beverage purchases will have an extra 25-cent fee in efforts to reduce the use of single-use drink cups. Watsonville and Santa Cruz have already imposed cup fees under city policies.

"Santa Cruz County is a leader in the efforts to reduce the flow of plastics and other disposable products into the environment," Supervisor Zach Friend said in a statement. "This is a common-sense measure that should help reduce the five million disposable cups that are thrown away each year in our county while raising funds for essential environmental clean-up programs in our area."

The fee will affect any business where drinks are served, and sellers cannot waive the fee. The charge will be separately listed on receipts, and customers will receive a notification about the charge on menus and online ordering systems. Retailers will retain the fee, until they report beverage sales and split the fee with the county on Jan. 1, 2023.

Businesses must accept customer-owned cups, unless the container is inappropriate in size, condition or material.

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