Chicago City Council Limits Restaurant Use of Plastic Utensils and Takeout Containers

Chicago took a small step to stop the tsunami of plastic waste caused by the increase in takeout and home-delivered restaurant meals triggered by the coronavirus pandemic as it limits restaurant use of plastic utensils and takeout. The City Council approved a watered-down ordinance prohibiting Chicago restaurants from distributing “single-use food ware” unless customers request it.

The regulation prohibits restaurants from automatically providing most single-use food items, such as plastic utensils, napkins or seasonings, with delivery or takeout orders unless customers specifically request it. Restaurants could provide self-service stations for diners to pick up such disposable utensils and spice packs themselves.

Chicago Limits Restaurant Use of Plastic Utensils and Takeout Containers

Image: John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune

Drive-through restaurants and airport concessions would be exempt from the ban, on the assumption that those customers rely on disposable utensils to eat in their car, on an airplane or while waiting for their flight at the airport. Straws, drinking lids, Styrofoam takeout containers and coffee cups would also be exempted from the ban. 

Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa said;

I hope that as a council we can pass a future regulation that will really address this problem, and ensure that we take the necessary steps to protect our environment and tackle climate change.

Ald. Samantha Nugent, the ordinance’s main sponsor, acknowledged that the city council should do more to protect the environment in the future, but said the ordinance is a good first step.

Ald. Tom Tunney said the regulation is a “step in the right direction” but said the bigger problem is that too many people rely on the convenience of takeout or delivery at restaurants, not only increasing the use of plastic kitchenware, but also causing air pollution from all the cars used for food delivery.

With a surge in plastic waste, environmentalists have vowed to hold officials to their promise of additional change and said they will continue to work on stronger efforts to curb plastic use.

Via: Chicago Tribune 

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