In an effort to reduce single-use plastic waste, plastic utensils and condiment packets may soon be missing from your takeout orders.
The NYC Council just recently passed a bill that would bar restaurants from throwing these single-use items into your takeout bag unless specifically requested.
Food service businesses that violate this bill would be subject to civil penalties, though warnings, rather than monetary penalties, would be given for violations occurring before July 1, 2024.
The bill, dubbed the “Skip the Stuff” bill, is part of an effort to decrease plastic waste in NYC.
According to the NYC Council, more than 320 million tons of plastic are consumed each year globally, with 95% of plastic only used once and 14% for recycling. 1.1 million pounds of that single-use plastic waste comes from NYC alone, and this new bill aims to decrease the amount of plastic waste while also reducing restaurant expenses.
“The “Skip the Stuff” legislation is a great example of smart, green policy that will allow us to reduce waste and help our city’s small businesses save on costs,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams in a press release.
And this isn’t the first time NYC has implemented policies to reduce plastic waste.
A plastic bag ban was implemented back in October 2020, while single-use foam containers were banned earlier, in January 2019.
“Big Oil has been pushing single use plastics for too long – and it stops here. They litter our beaches and parks, jam our recycling machines, and contribute to climate change. Our actions today will help us build a fairer city for all New Yorkers,” said former Mayor de Blasio regarding 2019’s foam container ban.
A big supporter of the bill is the Reusable NYC Coalition, who also supports all other NYC Council bills aimed at making reusables the new normal. They stated, “The law will help New Yorkers to change their bad habits of tossing these plastics out and adopt more sustainable practices, reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the process.”
“‘Skip the Stuff’ will put money back into the pockets of our small businesses while also minimizing our City’s carbon footprint and make New York a more sustainable city,” said Council Member Marjorie Velázquez. “If we continue the use of single-use plastics and other additions, we will feel the negative repercussions through our environment and our local businesses.”
If Mayor Eric Adams signs the bill, it would go into effect in six months.