New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has banned the purchase of single-use plasticware, such as utensils, bowls, plates, straws, and cups, by city agencies, including jails, schools, and hospitals.
What's the story?
The mayor signed an executive order Thursday mandating the new guidelines. The ban has exceptions for people with disabilities and for medical use or use during emergency preparedness. Agencies will have 120 days to begin reducing their reliance on these items. The ban will go into full effect at the start of 2020.
In a speech announcing the ban, de Blasio described plasticware items as "things we somehow got used to but we really don't need anymore." He said the companies that make such products were "the villain here."
De Blasio said that this would cut the city's carbon emissions by 500 tons a year. WCBS-TV reported that the city buys 1.1 million pounds of plasticware every year. The city government admitted that alternative single-use utensils made out of material such as wood or bamboo would be more expensive, but said it was still taking bids to see what the actual cost would be.
"Big Oil has been pushing single-use plastics for too long — and it stops here," de Blasio said while announcing the new law. "They litter our beaches and parks, jam our recycling machines, and contribute to climate change. Our actions today will help us build a fairer city for all New Yorkers."
But wait, there's more
While the current ban applies only to government-run establishments, de Blasio is also trying to get legislation passed that would outlaw single use plastic products at private restaurants and stores, as well.
New York City has already banned single-use foam products. The entire state has a ban on single-use shopping bags, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said "have blighted our environment and clogged our waterways."