Santa Cruz County will soon begin collecting half of a 25-cent charge on single-use cups as a tax in the county’s unincorporated areas to support efforts to reduce the accumulation of plastic, trash and other pollutants in local waterways.

The county’s Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to begin collecting the tax on Jan. 1, 2023. The cup charge has been in effect since July 1.

County officials estimate it will generate some $700,000 per year from the cup charge in unincorporated areas.

“I think this is a very important opportunity for the county to have a consistent, steady stream of funding for environmental-based cleanup and programs,” Supervisor Zach Friend said.

The board originally placed a measure on the June 7 ballot, Measure C, to allow the county to collect the half of the charge as a tax. County voters overwhelmingly supported Measure C, with nearly 70 percent in favor.

County officials plan to return to the board after the first quarter of 2023, when the county will have a more accurate estimate of the revenue generated by the tax, with a formal spending plan to mitigate plastic pollution.

The board is scheduled to hold a second, ratifying vote on Sept. 20 that will formally approve collection of the tax revenue.