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SKIP THE STUFF BILL by Edie Kantrowitz

On February 2, 2023, Mayor Eric Adams signed into law the “Skip the Stuff Bill,” Intro 559-A, limiting the distribution of single-use plastic and foodware items in NYC. Under this new law, takeout and food delivery services are prohibited from including such items unless specifically requested by the customer. Mayor Adams said the goal of the law is “preventing unused plastic from ending up in our landfills and making our city greener for generations to come.” Food service establishments will face fines between $50 and $250 for non-compliance. The law will include a warning period before fully going into effect on July 1, 2024.

NYC has already banned polystyrene foam containers in 2019, and in 2021 passed a law banning plastic straws and beverage stirrers at foodservice locations except by customer request. Now prohibited, unless specifically requested, will be all plastic utensils, condiment packets, extra containers and napkins. This will not only help prevent waste and keep materials out of our landfills, but it will also save restaurants money on packaging, and help consumers avoid unnecessary clutter. Approximately 20,000 tons of the city’s plastic foodware ends up in landfills or incinerators each year, according to Raine Manley, a member of the Reusable NYC coalition and regional digital campaign director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Reducing the production of plastics, which are made with fossil fuels, also helps directly to fight climate change.

So with this new law, we are now taking another very significant step to reducing our waste, and moving away from the “throw-away culture” that threatens our sustainability and survival on this planet. But there’s more to be done. Let’s keep thinking about our carbon footprints and sustainability in everything we do!