Litter Tax on Fast Food and Convenience Stores – Oakland, CA

In February 2006 the City of Oakland, California passed ordinance 12727, which enacts a fee on fast-food restaurants, gas stations, and convenience markets to cover litter and trash clean up.  The fee is expected to raise $237,000 a year, which will be used solely to fund the clean up program.  The ordinance is intended to discourage the use of disposable products such as candy wrappers, food containers, and paper napkins. "A city is judged by how clean it is, and Oakland definitely has a major litter problem. It’s time to clean up", said Councilwoman Brunner, who proposed the ordinance.

Thebusiness community has protested the ordinance, arguing that business owners are not responsible for customers litter.  The Restaurant Association has warned that it may file a lawsuit for discrimination. However, the Oakland City Attorney says that the City is on solid legal ground. 

Affected businesses will be assessed between$230 and $3,815 annually.  However, over 75% of these businesses will pay the minimal $230 per year—about 63 cents a day.  The ordinance allows reduction in fees for businesses that are already providing trash clean-up in their neighborhoods. 

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