No forks, ketchup, or napkins for your New York City takeout unless you specifically ask for it under new anti-waste law

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New Yorkers with takeout-heavy diets soon won’t have to contend with an overwhelming array of unwanted plastic spoons and chopsticks. Restaurants face new fines for supplying them.

The city on Tuesday recommended fines ranging from $50 to $250 for restaurants, food delivery and third-party courier services that send utensils and other items like soy sauce and ketchup packets to customers who didn’t ask for them, the result of the so-called “Skip the Stuff” bill that was signed into law in February. The rule is aimed at decreasing plastic waste generated by restaurants, according to proposed regulations published Tuesday.

There’s still time to stockpile. Restaurants will only receive warnings until July 1, 2024, when the financial penalties begin to take effect.

“We’re happy this law focuses on education first by initially providing a warning for violations, then doesn’t propose the maximum fines allowable, and also places responsibility on the third-party delivery apps to help restaurants comply,” said Andrew Rigie, an executive director for the NYC Hospitality Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for the restaurant and nightlife industry.

The “Skip the Stuff” law follows a series of bans on single-use plastics, including plastic straws (except by request) and plastic bags. In 2019, the city began enforcing a ban on plastic foam takeout containers. 

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