New York City Votes to Limit Single-Use Plastic Utensils - Oceana USA

New York City Votes to Limit Single-Use Plastic Utensils

Oceana Applauds New York City Council for Reducing the Amount of Plastic Flooding our Planet

Press Release Date: January 20, 2023

Location: New York


Brian Langloss, Melissa Valliant | email:, | tel: 212.203.3493, Melissa Valliant

On Thursday, New York City lawmakers passed a bill requiring that restaurants, food delivery apps, and online delivery platforms only provide certain single-use items — including plastic utensils and condiment packets — if requested by the customer.

Single-use plastic foodware, including utensils, is a significant source of plastic waste in New York City. According to an Overbrook Foundation report, the cost of managing disposable foodware in New York City in 2016 was approximately $42 million — paid for by New York City residents and businesses. A 2022 Oceana poll found that 83% of registered New York state voters are concerned about the amount of plastic items used in food delivery and takeout, and 88% support local and state policies to reduce single-use plastic.

“We simply cannot continue to use unnecessary single-use plastic items, like utensils, at our current rate if we have any hope of tackling the plastic pollution crisis,” said Oceana representative Brian Langloss. “Council member Marjorie Velázquez’s bill is a key example of action we can take at the local level to reduce plastic pollution and ensure consumers have plastic-free choices. We applaud the New York City Council for taking action and call on Mayor Eric Adams to sign the bill into law without delay.”

Scientists estimate that 33 billion pounds of plastic wash into the ocean every year. That equates to about two garbage trucks’ worth of plastic entering the ocean every minute. Plastic has been found in every corner of the world and has turned up in drinking water, beer, salt, honey and more. It’s also one of the greatest contributors to climate change. In fact, if plastic were a country, it would be the fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. With plastic production growing at a rapid rate, increased amounts of plastic can be expected to flood our blue planet with devastating consequences.

For more information about Oceana’s campaign to end the plastics problem, please visit

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-quarter of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit to learn more.