NYC cracks down on takeout order staples like ketchup, napkins

New York City’s restaurant industry braces for another regulatory blow as mandates to “Skip the Stuff” threaten fines for takeout staples.

Big Brother’s unrelenting advance in the Big Apple has already seen the end of plastic bags in the name of climate activism. Now, businesses still reeling from supply chain issues that survived draconian pandemic lockdowns will have a new regulation to uphold in the name of the environment impacting utensils, condiments and even napkins.

Following NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ (D) signing of Local Law 17 in February of this year, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) issued a press release reminding Gothamites that takeout extras were only to be included upon request beginning Monday, July 31.

“Do not provide utensils, condiment packets, napkins, or extra containers to take-out or delivery customers, unless requested by the customer,” a summary of the new restrictions detailed.

“Your online ordering and delivery apps must be set to a default of not providing these items,” the DSNY statement specified. “You must provide customers with the option to request these items only if you offer them.”

It further detailed, “Delivery and courier services may not provide these items unless such items are requested by the customer.”

Initially introduced by Bronx Councilwoman Marjorie Velázquez (D) in June 2022, failure to comply with the new regulation would see business slapped with a $50 penalty for a first offense, $150 for a second occurrence, and $250 for each offense beyond the third. However, a grace period of one year was set to allow for warnings only until June 30, 2024.

In January, Velázquez said, “This bill aims to reduce the amount of unnecessary plastics and other items that food establishments give to customers. In the US, over 100 million plastic utensils are used daily and some analysts estimate that Americans waste $40 billion.”

She had added during the City Council hearing, “While many of us try to recycle or save these items for the future, most of them end up in landfills where they can enter our water system and harm our ecosystem. Reducing this waste will hopefully help our environment at no cost to businesses, consumers or our city.”

The latest regulation came following intense backlash over the city’s attempt to crack down on carbon emissions that would potentially impact the product from wood- and coal-fire pizzerias or prove too costly to implement. Outrage was widespread and included a rant from Dave Portnoy who railed on the apparent priorities of city officials, “You got rats, you got trash in the city, you got f**cking cars, planes, private planes, you got people getting slashed on the subway, you got flash mobs robbing stores and you’re coming for coal-oven pizzerias?”

Cities like Chicago and Los Angeles had already instituted similar policies and the press release warned “Businesses should be prepared for visits from inspectors, at least annually as part of routine inspections or 311 investigations,” from the Sanitation Department or NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection.


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