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Hold the Ketchup! NYC Restricts Restaurants on Plastic, Condiments For Takeout

By Mara Lafontaine · July 29, 2023

In brief…

  • New York City, which discards 20,000 tons of plastic 'foodwear' annually, has set tough, new restrictions on single-use take-out and delivery items.
  • Starting July 31, customers must request utensils, condiment packets, napkins, and containers for their orders.
  • The "Skip the Stuff" bill was signed into law by Mayor Eric Adams in February.
  • For the first year, non-compliant businesses will only be issued warnings. Penalties, ranging from $50 to $250, go into effect July 2024.
Say Please! New York take-out and delivery customers must now ask for their ketchup when ording a burger and fries,  Enoch Lai / Wikimedia Commons

Attention ketchup - and mustard - lovers!

New York City, a metropolis that discards 20,000 tons of plastic ‘foodwear’ annually, is taking a big step towards reducing single-use waste. Effective Monday, July 31, food-service establishments will be required to comply with new restrictions aimed at sharply reducing the use of disposable utensils, condiment packets, napkins, and containers in take-out and delivery orders.

Mayor Eric Adams signed the “Skip the Stuff” bill into law in February.

For the law’s first year, businesses will only be issued warnings for non-compliance. However, starting July 2024, businesses that fail to comply will face fines, ranging from $50 for the first offense to $250 for a third offense that takes place within 12 months.

The city’s Department of Sanitation laid out three core restrictions on its website:

1 - Food establishments must not provide utensils, condiment packets, or napkins unless requested by the customer.

2 - Online ordering platforms must default to not providing these items.

3 - Delivery services can only provide such items at the customer’s request. 

Food establishments can expect at least one visit from inspectors annually as part of their routine inspections. To help businesses adjust to the new law, the city is offering educational materialsfree training, and educational visits.
Read more about who is profiting from the proliferation of single-use plastics and what these plastics do to our bodies.

In the meantime, customers who want their condiments and napkins will have to remember to ask for them. Otherwise, better get used to eating your fries without ketchup.