Brooklyn Boro

Council passes anti-plastic bill banning stirrers, curbing use of straws

"Only 9% of plastic waste ever created is recycled"

May 13, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
Rafael Espinal

The City Council passed a bill on Wednesday banning single-use plastic stirrers and requiring restaurants to only provide single-use plastic straws when customers ask for them.

Customers will not be required to provide a reason for requesting a straw. The bill now heads to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s desk for signing.

A statement on the City Council’s website said, “By making customers pro-actively ask for straws, we will dramatically reduce the amount of single use plastic being used in the largest city in the country.

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“Each year, at least eight million tons of plastic leak into the ocean. If we don’t change our behavior, the World Economic Forum predicts there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050,”

“Passing this bill is an important step in reducing New York City’s use of unnecessary single-use plastic that too often ends up in our environment,” said Oceana’s New York field representative, Brian Langloss. Oceana is an organization seeks to control ocean pollution, much of which is plastic.

“By banning plastic stirrers and greatly reducing plastic straws, Councilmember Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) and the New York City Council are helping to curb the massive amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans every day,” he added.

“The plastic pollution crisis will only worsen as plastic production rates continue to rise. We need more of these policies to stop the problem at the source and encourage a shift to sustainable alternatives,” he added.

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, according to Oceana.

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Plastic has turned up in drinking water, beer, salt, honey and more. Recycling alone will not solve this problem — only 9 percent of the plastic waste ever created has been recycled, the advocacy group says.

The bill was originally introduced in 2018 by Rosenthal, then-Councilmember Rafael Espinal (D-Bed-Stuy-Brownsville-Bushwick-East New York) and Councilmember Barry Grodenchik (D-Queens).

“If we continue this trend of using plastic we have been using and the rate we have been using, by 2050 we will have more plastic floating in our ocean than fish,” Espinal, who resigned in 2020, said at the time.

“With plastic production growing at a rapid rate, increasing amounts of plastic can be expected to flood our blue planet with devastating consequences,” a spokesperson for Oceana added.


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