Oct. 18, 2019. By Shane O’Brien
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer introduced a bill yesterday that aims to reduce the amount of plastic food utensils in New York City.
The legislation would prohibit take-out and delivery services from providing plastic utensils unless a customer expressly asks for it.
The bill includes plates, bowls, knives, forks, spoons and napkins.
Food establishments could only provide non-reusable utensils by request.
The bill states that the Department of Consumer Affairs would be in charge of issuing violations.
Van Bramer said that the overuse of plastic cutlery has a negative impact on the environment.
“We must reckon with the harmful effects that everyday plastic utensils have on our environment and do everything we can to prevent irreparable harm to our oceans and our planet,” said Van Bramer. “The status quo of including plastic utensils in all food orders by default is unnecessary and unsustainable.”
Van Bramer believes that by adding a simple opt-in feature to food orders, the city could reduce the amount of plastic utensils and also reduce their impact on the environment.
It is estimated that over 40 billion non-reusable plastic utensils are used annually in the United States which leads to the pollution of waterways and streets. Van Bramer argues that the utensils are easily disposable and so they are often thrown onto the street or into a body of water, which endangers wildlife.