NEW YORK - Hold the fork…
New York City lawmakers have voted to prohibit restaurants, third-party food delivery services, and courier services from providing eating utensils, napkins, condiment packets, and extra food and beverage containers to customers with their take-out and delivery orders unless specifically requested.
The so-called Skip the Stuff bill is aimed at decreasing plastic waste in New York City.
"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 City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams.
Another positive would be reducing expenses for food service establishments.
Backers in the New York City Council say that more than 320 million tons of plastic are consumed each year globally, with 95% of plastic only used once and 14% for recycling.
Businesses that violate the law would face fines ranging from $50 to $250. Any violations occurring before July 1, 2024, would just receive a warning.
Council Member Marjorie Velázquez sponsored the bill.
"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," Velázquez said. "We must work together to keep and maintain a clean city, not just for ourselves, but for future generations."
As of November 1, 2021, New York City food service establishments were no longer allowed to provide single-use plastic beverage straws, except upon request. Additionally, food service establishments may no longer provide single-use beverage splash sticks or stirrers made of plastic.
New York has had a ban on single-use plastic bags since Oct. 2020.