NYC Mayor Ending City's Purchase of Single-Use Plastics

The mayor's executive order will reduce the city's carbon emissions by approximately 500 tons per year, decrease plastic pollution, and reduce risks to wildlife, with the city estimating it will reduce the purchase of single-use plastics by city agencies by 95 percent.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order April 11 that will end the direct city purchase of unnecessary single-use plastics in favor of compostable or recyclable alternatives. New York City purchases at least 1.1 million pounds of single-use plastic foodware every year, which includes plastic straws, cutlery, plates, bowls, cups, and trays; the mayor's order will reduce the city's carbon emissions by approximately 500 tons per year, decrease plastic pollution, and reduce risks to wildlife, with the city estimating it will reduce the purchase of single-use plastics by city agencies by 95 percent.

The news release from the mayor's office said his administration "recognizes that certain single-use plastic items including plastic straws are a continued necessity for some people—including New Yorkers with disabilities—who cannot use currently available alternative products and affirms the ability of all individuals to receive single-use plastic items without question or cost upon request. Under this executive order, a sufficient supply of single-use plastic foodware will continue to be made available for anyone who requests such items and maintained for other purposes including emergency preparedness and medical uses."

"Big Oil has been pushing single-use plastics for too long – and it stops here," de Blasio said. "They litter our beaches and parks, jam our recycling machines, and contribute to climate change. Our actions today will help us build a fairer city for all New Yorkers."

As a result of the executive order, no new contracts will be signed for single-use plastic foodware other than to maintain a sufficient supply of certain items to be provided upon request. All relevant agencies are directed to begin reducing their use of single-use plastic immediately and must prepare a reduction plan within 120 days. Full implementation of these reduction plans is targeted for the end of the year.

According to the release, across New York City, approximately 36 million pounds of single-use plastic foodware is collected from its residential waste stream, and tens of millions more pounds are collected from commercial establishments.

"Let's call single-use plastic what it is: pollution," said Mark Chambers, director of the Mayor's Office of Sustainability. "We need to leave theses harmful plastics behind, and reducing the city's use of plastic foodware is a huge step in that direction."

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