City of Yonkers Passes Plastic Straw Free Legislation
YONKERS, NY – February 27, 2020 – Beginning March 1, single-use plastic straws will no longer be made available at food and beverage establishments located in Yonkers, unless upon request by customers. The ban comes into effect as the city’s Plastic Straw Free Yonkers legislation recently was passed by Yonkers City Council and signed by Mayor Mike Spano.
“In Yonkers, we are doing our part in being stewards of the environment and reducing the negative environmental impacts resulting from the manufacture and disposal of single-use plastic,” said Mayor Spano. “These straws are most-often used just once, but have lasting, global impacts on our waterways, wildlife and human health.”
Plastic drinking straws are among the top 10 contributors to marine debris pollution. Most plastic straws are not biodegradable and instead break down over years into smaller microplastics, releasing chemicals into the soil, air, and water that are harmful to animals, plants, people, and the environment.
“This is a great step forward toward reducing Yonkers’ carbon footprint and I could not be more proud to have introduced this important legislation,” said City Council President Mike Khader. “Single-use plastics, like straws, are one of the biggest polluters of the environment and contributors to climate change. It’s time we start working toward a cleaner, greener environment, one that we can be proud to pass down to our children and grandchildren.”
Mayor Spano added, “As many as 500 million plastic straws are used each year in the United States, yet the impacts on our environment last for generations. Let’s rid these straws from our roadways, streams and parks and continue to make Yonkers a greener, cleaner place to live.”
Approximately 540 food establishments in Yonkers have been notified of the new law. Once the ban takes effect, Yonkers Consumer Protection Bureau will perform routine spot checks as part of its ongoing, annual inspection process, as well as respond to any complaints. Any establishment found to be in violation of the new law the first time will be issued a written warning, followed by increasing monetary fines after each subsequent violation.
In 2019, Yonkers Public School students at Paideia School 15 and local Girl Scout Troop 1730 advocated the City to enact a law banning single-use plastic straws. Mayor Spano and local lawmakers today visited Paideia School 15 to thank the students for their advocacy efforts and commitment to a sustainable Yonkers.
Yonkers Councilman John Rubbo said, “As the Chairman of the Environmental Policy & Protection Committee, I will always take a strong stance in protecting our environment and as a small business owner, I have discontinued using single-use plastic straws in advance of this law being passed. I am grateful to the Girl Scout Troop at School 15 and the parent volunteers for bringing this issue to light. Our future leaders spoke and we listened, and now thanks to these young ladies our community will be doing its part to reduce the use of single-use plastic straws in Yonkers.”
March 1 also marks the first day of New York State’s ban on single-use plastic bags. Residents are encouraged to pick up their free Yonkers reusable bag at City Hall, 40 S. Broadway, Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm and at any of the three branches of the Yonkers Public Library.
Reports of single-use plastic straws at local establishments may be directed to the Yonkers Consumer Protection Bureau at ConsumerHelp@YonkersNY.gov or (914) 377-3000.