New climate change surcharge may appear on your next restaurant bill

A unique, brand-new partnership between the state and a non-profit organization aims to help farmers cut back on greenhouse gasses. 

So far, about 2 dozen restaurants have signed up to take part and most people said they’d be willing to pay more to help the planet.

At Santa Monica’s newest dining hot spot Socalo, most customers are all-in when it comes to giving back.

 “Many of our customers have commented about how they’re excited that we’re supporting Restore California,” said Co-Owner Susan Feniger. 

Feniger, of Border Grill fame is  participating in Restore California’s Renewable Restaurant Initiative agreeing to donate 1% of gross receipts to help farmers reduce carbon emissions:

 “We have made the decision that we’re gonna donate 1% of sales. We’re just going to do that because we feel like it’s the right thing,” she added.

The program was started by Bay Area Chef Anthony Myint with some 17 restaurants signed up. In LA, Socalo is joining a few other local dining spots.

Here’s how it works:  Participating restaurants add a 1% surcharge to customer’s bills with the money going to a special fund overseen by the California Air Resources Board which in turn gives the money to sustainable farming projects. 

At Socalo, Customers can opt to round up their bill and giving is completely voluntary.

“This is a way for the state to start moving toward climate goals that’s voluntary optimistic, delicious, and isn’t coming out of the state budget,” said Myint.

For some diners the program appears to be a win-win while others were a little more cautious about how the money will be spent.

“I think it’s really interesting but i would just want to know more about what types of things would it be the farmers that would receive that money and what types of people would get that,” said Torrance resident Josie Debellis.

Feniger estimates Socalo will donate about $25,000 dollars to the cause. A small price to pay she says, to help solve a big problem.

“There is so much out there that’s causing the overheating of the planet we know that... It’s a fact,” said Feniger.

California has a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

There are still a lot of details that need to be ironed out with this program but supporters say it will help reduce carbon emissions.