New York City delivery establishments will no longer be allowed...

New York City delivery establishments will no longer be allowed to provide utensils, condiment packets, napkins, or extra containers to take-out or delivery customers, unless requested by the customer, under the "Skip the Stuff" law taking effect on Monday. Credit: Newsday/William Perlman

Takeout and delivery customers in New York City will need to start asking for ketchup with their fries, thanks to a new law that will take effect on Monday.

The legislation prohibits restaurants and food delivery platforms from including single-use plastics — such as utensils, extra plates and containers, condiment packets and napkins — in takeout and delivery orders unless the customer explicitly asks for them.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams signed the “Skip the Stuff” legislation in February in an effort to cut down on single-use plastics throughout New York, which some city officials have dubbed the “takeout capital of the world.”

The legislation has been lauded by environmentalists as a “common sense” move that will cut down both on costs for restaurants and waste entering landfills.

“Let’s be real: Most people have utensils at home. And all we do is save those packets," said Adrienne Esposito, executive director at Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "I would bet you most homes in New York City have a drawer stuffed full of plastic forks and knives and spoons in plastic wrapping that are unopened.”

The New York City mayor’s office estimated that in 2019, about 36 million pounds of single-use plastic foodware was collected from the city’s residential waste stream.

“These plastics, they don’t really degrade and go away,” said Enrico Nardone, executive director of Seatuck Environmental Association, a nonprofit based at the Suffolk County Environmental Center in Islip. “They break down into smaller and smaller pieces, but there’s still plastics that are being consumed throughout the food chain . . . and ending up in the bodies of all types of wildlife and having negative impacts.”

Microplastics have been found widely distributed in soils, plants and animals, according to recent studies, including humans

Plastics were also responsible for 3.4% of global emissions in 2019, according to international policy group The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Both environmentalists encouraged Long Island legislators to pass similar legislation.

New York City restaurant owner JJ Johnson said the new law is “great,” and will cut down on both waste and costs for restaurants. 

“I think the one thing that most people probably will get upset about is like, you go to order French fries and you forgot to tell them you need ketchup,” said Johnson, who is chef and owner of Fieldtrip, a rice bowl restaurant that offers takeout at three locations in New York City.

Johnson implemented the new policy several months ago and said it’s noticeably cut down single-use plastic use at his restaurants.

“Maybe we were going through four cases [of utensils] a week? We're going through one case now,” Johnson said.

A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/Daddona / Pfost / Villa Loarca

Uncovering the truth about the chemical drums A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports.

A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/Daddona / Pfost / Villa Loarca

Uncovering the truth about the chemical drums A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports.

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