The New York City Council has passed a “skip the stuff” bill prohibiting takeout and delivery services from including certain single-use foodware items unless requested. It now goes to Mayor Eric Adams for his signature.
The bill prohibits items like plastic utensils, condiment packets, extra containers and napkins from being automatically included in takeout and delivery orders, a move supporters say will help prevent waste and save restaurants money on packaging.
“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,” said Council Member Marjorie Velázquez, who sponsored the bill, in a statement.
About 20,000 tons of the city’s plastic foodware ends up in landfills or incinerators each year, said Raine Manley, a member of the Reusable NYC coalition and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s regional digital campaign director, in a statement.
If signed into law, food service establishments could face fines between $50 and $250 for not complying. Establishments that fill orders through a third-party food delivery service can appeal penalties if they offer evidence they believed the platform was complying with the ban. The law would also include a warning period through July 1, 2024 before fully going into effect, according to the bill.
The move follows similar New York foodservice packaging bans in recent years. In 2021, the city council passed a law banning plastic straws and beverage stirrers at foodservice locations except by request.
In 2019, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an executive order requiring city agencies to eliminate buying single-use plastic foodware in favor of purchasing reusable, recyclable or compostable alternatives. That move was meant to eliminate about 500 tons of plastic foodware each year, according to a committee report. New York City also started enforcing its expanded polystyrene foam container ban that year. The state enacted its own EPS foam ban in 2020, along with a ban on single-use plastic bags.