New “Upon Request” Law in Effect for Food Service Businesses Across Westchester County

Green Ossining is thrilled about a new piece of legislation that became effective in Westchester County most easily referred to as “Upon Request” Law.

Effective September 2nd, no food service establishment within the County may provide single-use foodware or condiment packets to dine-in or take-away customers unless expressly requested. This initiative is aimed at curbing unnecessary plastic waste and promoting a more sustainable approach to dining.

This pertains to items such as forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks, cup sleeves, beverage lids and condiment packets.

Upon customer request, single-use foodware items or condiment packets must be provided individually, rather than in packages containing multiple items.Customers are encouraged to ask for single-use items only when needed, fostering responsible consumption.

Single-use plastic beverage stirrers and “splash sticks” will no longer be permitted within food service establishments.

Food service establishments are required to prominently display a clearly legible sign informing customers that plastic utensils, condiments, and straws are available only upon request. This sign, provided by the County, will serve to increase awareness and encourage responsible plastic use.

According to Alex Dubro, CSM who has studied the impact of similar laws,  “Opting for reusable silverware isn’t just environmentally responsible but also cost-effective. ReThink Disposables, based in California, partners with businesses of all sizes, resulting in substantial savings and reduced plastic waste. For instance, Oren’s Hummus, a small eatery with 20 employees, saves nearly $1,720 annually and eliminates 130,357 single-use plastic items. On a larger scale, La Victoria Taqueria, with 120 employees, enjoys savings of almost $24,648 and eliminates a staggering 862,008 single-use packaging pieces.”

This eco-friendly initiative applies to dine-in, take-out, and online orders. Warning notices will be issued in lieu of fines until March 2, 2024, after which fines will be levied by either Westchester’s Department of Environmental Facilities (DEF) and Department of Health (DOH) inspectors.

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