On March 6, 2023, the Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously passed new single-use foodware legislation to reduce waste, including plastic waste. The purpose of the legislation is to reduce unnecessary waste generated from single-use disposable items in the retail food industry, thereby improving the health and safety of the community, protecting our waterways, and saving local businesses money. Food service establishments are required to post signage about the Upon Request Law.

Single use foodware accessories include: straws, utensils, chop sticks, condiment cups and packets, salt and pepper packets, cup sleeves, cup lids, and napkins, provided with ready-to-eat food and designed to be used once and then discarded.

Effective September 2, 2023, Westchester will require consumers to request the single-use foodware items they need. This includes when ordering in person, online or through a food delivery app.

The new legislation states:

  • No food service establishment shall provide single-use foodware or condiment packets to any dine-in or take-away customer unless specifically requested;
  • Single-use plastic beverage stirrers or single-use plastic beverage “splash sticks” are no longer permitted. Retail stores may sell packages or boxes of single-use plastic beverage stirrers or single-use plastic beverage splash sticks;
  • When requested, single-use foodware items or condiment packets must be provided individually and not in a package containing multiple items.

Department of Environmental Facilities (DEF) and Department of Health (DOH) inspectors will be working to ensure compliance. Food service establishments in violation of the law may be subject to a fine: 1st-time violations will receive a $100 fine; 2nd-time violations will result in a $200 fine; 3rd-time violations will result in a $400 fine. However, there will be an initial education period during which Warning Notices will be issued in lieu of fines from September 2, 2023, until March 02, 2024. For more information for businesses, see the Fact Sheet for Business (in Spanish and Chinese) and the Upon Request information flyer (in Spanish and Chinese) suitable for printing to comply with the posting requirement of the Law.

All current DOH requirements for health and safety remain in effect. Utensils available in self-service containers for consumers must be in either: a single-use dispenser, placed handle-end up, or be individually wrapped. Questions about DOH requirements should be directed to the Westchester County Department of Health at (914)813-5000.

For more information, contact the Recycling HelpLine at (914)813-5425.