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Businesses to give half of disposable cup fees to Santa Cruz County beginning the New Year

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION-TV)- Santa Cruz County wants to remind local retailers, restaurants, food trucks, convenience stores, hospitality establishments, and event planners that beginning Jan. 1, the collection of the single-use cup tax will begin.

In June, Santa Cruz County voters passed Measure C, the Santa Cruz County Clean Water/Beaches, Public Health, and Environmental Protection Measure. Permanent or temporary businesses that follow the single-use cup rule must remit half the twenty-five cents collected for each cup to the county.

The remittances are due each quarter. Businesses can fill out an online form here.

The pay periods are as follows:

January 1st – March 31st with a deadline of April 30th
April 1st – June 30th with a deadline of July 31st
July 1st – September 30th with a deadline of October 31st
October 1 – December 31st with a deadline of January 31st

Disposable cup fee to begin in July for Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County will begin implementing a single-use disposable cup fee that will go into effect at the start of July 2022 for residents and businesses in unincorporated areas.

This ordinance impacts permanent and temporary businesses, food trucks, events, and any location where drinks are sold. Sellers are not allowed to absorb or wave cup fees.

The fees will be shown separately on receipts, signs, and menus. While these fees only impact unincorporated Santa Cruz County, Watsonville(10 cents) and Santa Cruz (25 cents) have their payments in place.

“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. “This is a common-sense measure that should help reduce the 5 million disposable cups that are thrown away each year in our county while raising funds for essential environmental clean-up programs in our area.”

With this ordinance, customers can bring their reusable cups, and retailers have to accept them unless the container is cracked, chipped, corroded, or looks like it is not the appropriate size, material, or condition.

Retailers will initially hold on to the 25-cent fee. Under Measure C, retailers will report cup sales and split costs equally with the County on January 1, 2023.

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Ricardo Tovar

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