The Democrats have outdone themselves. After a recent series of policy initiatives targeting everyday appliances such as gas stoves, air conditioners, water heaters, dishwashers, and portable gas generators, the Democrat party have now shifted their focus towards reducing waste generated by utensils, condiments, napkins, and containers (UCNC) used in food service.

In their latest quest to save the planet from waste and climate change, Mayor Eric Adams signed a bill, Skip the Stuff, earlier this year, in relation to “restricting the provision of eating utensils, condiment packets, napkins and extra eating containers, and clarifying the definition of third-party courier service.”

The move is set to take effect on July 31, 2023, affecting food service establishments across New York City.

Under the new rules, food service establishments are prohibited from providing utensils, condiment packets, napkins, or extra containers to take-out or delivery customers, unless specifically requested by the customer.

Online ordering and delivery apps will have to be updated to reflect this default setting, while delivery and courier services are also expected to adhere to these restrictions.

According to the bill summary:

This bill would prohibit food service establishments, couriers who deliver food, and food delivery platforms from providing eating utensils, extra eating containers, condiment packets and napkins to customers for take-out and delivery orders unless the customer requests them.

Delivery platforms would have to provide a means for a customer to request the items, but the bill would require that the default option is that the customer does not request such items.

Food service establishments, couriers and delivery platforms who violate this bill would be subject to civil penalties, however the bill would require that warnings, instead of a monetary penalty, be given for any violation occurring before July 1, 2024.

These new restrictions, however, will not apply to self-serve stations inside food service establishments.

A warning period will be in effect until June 30, 2024. Starting July 1, 2024, establishments not following the restrictions may receive a Notice of Violation. Penalties for violations within a 12-month period will escalate, starting at $50 for the first offense, $150 for the second offense, and $250 for the third and subsequent offenses.

Businesses should be prepared for inspections, at least annually as part of routine inspections or 311 investigations, from the New York City Department of Sanitation and the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection.

“New York City has long been a leader in the fight to reduce the use of single-use products — especially plastics — to fight climate change, reduce carbon emissions, and divert waste from landfills,” said Kate Smart, a spokesperson for City Hall. “This is an important step to reduce consumers’ personal waste impact, which is why we support this legislation and look forward to working with the City Council to enact it.”

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