Latimer Signs Legislation Making Single-Use Plastic Foodware Only Available Upon Request
Following the Westchester County Board of Legislators passage on Monday, March 6, County Executive George Latimer has signed into law a measure aimed at further reducing the amount of plastics in the County’s waste stream. The new measure was signed into law at a ceremony hosted outside of the Board of Legislators Chambers with the main sponsors of the legislation Legislator Erika Pierce and Chairwoman Catherine Borgia.
The law states that: No food service establishment shall provide single-use foodware or condiment packets to any dine-in or take-away customer unless specifically requested; Any single-use plastic beverage stirrers or single-use plastic beverage “splash sticks” are no longer permitted. Retail food stores may sell packages or boxes of single-use plastic beverage stirrers or single-use plastic beverage splash sticks to their customers; Lastly, when requested, single-use foodware items or condiment packets must be provided individually and not in a package containing multiple items.
In addition to this new law, Westchester is increasing recycling and reducing waste – and while the environmental benefits of waste reduction and recycling are well known, it also makes good sense economically. In 2022, 74,456 tons of curbside recyclables collected by municipalities within the County’s Refuse Disposal District were delivered to the Daniel P. Thomas Material Recovery Facility (MRF). Revenue from the sale of these recyclables totaled $7,006,704.59, an increase of over 95% from 2020.
Over the past 20 years, the amount of residential solid waste disposed in Refuse Disposal District No. 1 in Westchester has decreased by 21%. After peaking at 495,659 tons in 2003, the amount of residential trash was reduced to 390,243 tons in 2021, a reduction of 105,416 tons. Over this same period, Westchester’s population grew by about 6.8%, adding more than 64,000 additional residents. During that time span, the County consistently posted an annual recycling rate of at least 50%, far outpacing the national average of 32%.