NYC’s new rule on takeout utensils begins; Eateries, stores must start using garbage containers on Tuesday
It’s a new era for restaurants in New York City.
Two new rules take effect this week that will impact your takeout and delivery experience, among other things.
Picking up food now comes with a new responsibility for the customer: asking for utensils, condiments, napkins, extra plates or containers.
“We can’t offer any of the customers any more plates, especially if they order a decent amount of pies, unless the customer requests it,” said a woman named Debbie, the manager at Sal’s Pizza in Woodhaven, Queens.
The manager showed CBS New York the city’s “Skip the Stuff” rules, which went into effect Monday.
The Department of Sanitation says the goal is to reduce single-use plastic that ends up in landfills, contributing to climate change. The agency says tens of millions pounds of it are discarded by residential homes and businesses every year.
“It should automatically be given to you. You’re ordering the food,” Woodhaven resident Cathy Lyons said.
“You don’t want people to get a plastic knife, plastic fork, but you allow people to throw plastic bottles and all those things everywhere in the street? That’s stupid,” resident Carlos Cruz Estevez added.
Sylvia’s in Harlem says it has updated its online platforms — as the city also requires — so customers are prompted to ask for the items.
“We’re going to have to educate people around the world about the New York City policy, but it’s better for the planet,” owner Crizette Woods said.
And in the so-called “war on rats,” food-related businesses need to make another change starting Tuesday with how trash is put out.
“These things cost $100 each,” Debbie from Sal’s Pizza said.
No more bags piled up on the sidewalk. Restaurants, grocery stores, delis, bodegas and caterers must now put all waste into a container with a secure lid. Containers can be stored inside or within three feet of the property line. The Department of Sanitation says they may be set out after 8 p.m. or one hour before closing.
“We have to spend extra money that we don’t have,” Debbie said. “If they pick up the garbage in an efficient manner and a specific time that would help the consumers and neighborhood.”
The Hospitality Alliance adds it’s “impractical” and “creates big problems for small restaurants that will have to store big, dirty garbage cans in their food preparation and customer seating areas.”
Mayor Eric Adams has said the new rule to containerize trash will result in 4 million pounds of garbage going into secure bins each day.
Businesses that do not comply will be given warnings, for now. But by June of next year, the city can start issuing fines.