On Monday, new regulations to cut down on single-use plastic waste in takeout orders went into force in New York City, the most populated metropolis in the US.
The new regulations prohibit the city’s restaurants and delivery services from including plastic utensils, condiment packets, napkins, or extra containers in takeout or delivery orders unless consumers specifically request them.
That implies that, absent a specific request from the customer, restaurants will no longer automatically include plastic containers, knives, forks, packets of mayo, dressing, and ketchup in a to-go order.
The “Skip the Stuff” rule, which New York Mayor Eric Adams signed earlier this year, served as the inspiration for the new regulations targeted at reducing single-use plastic trash.
On June 30, 2024, the regulations’ warning period will come to an end, and any subsequent infractions will result in fines.
Penalties for breaking the rules start at 50 dollars for the first infraction, 150 dollars for the second, and 250 dollars for the third. Data quoted by the Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection of the New York City Council shows that the nation uses more than 320 million tons of plastic annually, with 95% of that plastic being single-use and only 14% of that plastic being recycled.