Takeout cutlery is now in the crosshairs of the City Council.

“We absolutely need to care about little plastic forks and knives, because even though they are small, they have an outsize impact,” said Raine Manley, the regional digital campaign director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Manley has filled a large garbage bag with all the plastic utensils she says she’s been collecting for the last few years.

To reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, City Councilmembers are considering a bill that would make restaurant and delivery services provide food utensils, extra containers and condiment packets only when requested by the customer.

What You Need To Know

  • The City Council wants to reduce the amount of plastic utensils New Yorkers get with their takeout

  • Customers would be able to get utensils and condiment packets only if they request them

  • New York City has the goal of zero waste to landfills by 2030

“This is a sensible bill where it saves our businesses tons of money and it saves our environment from the harmful plastic use,” said Bronx Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez, a Democrat who is the main sponsor of this bill.

Right now, some delivery services give New Yorkers the option of refusing these items with their order.

The restaurant industry is not opposing the so-called “Skip the Stuff” bill, but is worried about the impact of potential enforcement.

“Making sure that our restaurants don’t fall into any type of financial liabilities with that,” said Jeffrey García, president of the New York State Latino Restaurant Bar and Lounge Association.

Penalties would go from $100 to $300 in one same year.

Staten Island Councilmember Joe Borelli, a Republican, thinks the bill is not needed and that nothing is stopping businesses from not including these utensils in their bags.

“They are doing it because it’s their customers’ convenience. They are doing it because they probably don’t like to send a delivery driver back out with utensils if something was missing and stuff like that,” Borelli said.

New York City has the ambitious — but non-binding — goal of sending zero waste to landfills by the year 2030.