New York's "Skip the Stuff" law comes into effect today. You'll have to buy your own knives and forks, now, or just sit there shoveling it into your mouth with your fingers as God intended.
According to the release from the Sanitation Department, the bill aims to reduce single-use plastics that often end up in landfills.
Fines will not begin being issued Monday, according to the Department of Sanitation. Any violations before June 30 of next year will receive a warning instead of a monetary penalty. After that date, any businesses that violate the rules are subject to civil penalties ranging from $50 for a first offense to $250 for a third offense within a 12-month period.
Currently, the U.S. has not placed a single-use plastic ban on a federal level, but this responsibility has been taken up by states and cities. Connecticut, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Vermont have all placed bans on plastic bags. San Francisco was the first city to completely ban plastic bags in 2007. The rest of California implemented their plastic bag ban in 2014, and since then there has been a 70% reduction in plastic bag usage within the state. However, you can still find plastic bags in grocery stores, as rules have not been properly enforced over the past few years. New York faces a similar situation, as plastic bags were banned in the state in 2020 but some businesses still continue to distribute them; again mostly due to lax enforcement of pollution rules. Some of this can be attributed to COVID-19, which complicated efforts towards reducing plastic usage. The surge in gloves, masks, and other PPE have been detrimental to the health of our oceans. Since the beginning of the pandemic, oceans have seen more than 57 million pounds of COVID-related waste. On a brighter note, as the world is starting to recover from the effects of the pandemic, attention is returning to the effects of plastic on the environment, with stricter enforcement. The pandemic has brought to attention once again how serious the plastic pollution problem is, and the many pollution reduction policies that have been suspended or postponed are being put into effect again.
So much for this guy: