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New York will ban single-use plastic silverware beginning Monday
Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

New York will ban single-use plastic silverware beginning Monday

If you order takeout food, you might be accustomed to receiving a packet of plastic cutlery with your food to prevent you from needing to potentially needing to use your fingers or perhaps a comb to consume your food. However, if you live in New York City, you soon won't receive one unless you make it a point to ask for it.

New York City passed a "skip the stuff" law earlier this year that prohibited "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." In explaining the decision the NYC City Council said, "More than 320 million tons of plastic are consumed each year globally, with 95% of plastic only used once and 14% for recycling. The “Skip the Stuff” legislation would decrease the amount of plastic in our waste stream, and it would reduce expenses for food service establishments."

The law takes effect on Monday, and restaurants that are found to have illegally provided plastic utensils to customers face potential fines ranging from $50 to $250. To soften the blow of the new law, the city has promised that restaurants will only be issued warnings for violating the law until July 1, 2024, when the fines will become mandatory.

The "skip the stuff" law is the latest salvo in New York City's war on takeout food packaging and accoutrements. In 2019, the city banned styrofoam containers for takeout food, and a ban on plastic straws went into effect in 2021.

The new law also places the onus on third-party delivery services like Uber Eats and DoorDash to ensure compliance with the law as well.

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