CM Levine Intros Bill to Curb Single-Use Coffee Cups by Creating ‘Right to Reuse’

**RELEASE** Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Contact: Jake Sporn // 917-842-5748 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

City Hall, NY – Today, Council Member Mark Levine introduced legislation aimed at dramatically curbing the amount of single-use plastic and paper products used in New York City by requiring food service establishments to let New Yorkers use their own reusable containers.

Council Member Levine’s bill seeks to build on other proposals in New York--including banning single-use foam containers and Council Member Espinal’s bill to end plastic straw use--by taking aim at plastic cups and plastic-lined paper cups, most commonly used for coffee.

In addition to the 38 billion plastic cups used in the U.S. each year, Americans use 50 billion paper cups, a large majority of which are not recyclable because of the plastic that lines them. The plastic from these cups contributes to the 8 million tons of plastic that ends up in oceans every year, substantially damaging the environment.

The proposal hopes to encourage more people to rely on reusable travel mug, bottles, thermos’ and the like at their local coffee shop. Under the proposed law, food service establishments--from Starbucks to 7-Eleven to local coffee shops--would be required to post a sign notifying consumers of their right to use their own container.

“A New Yorker with a five-day-a-week coffee habit throws away at least 260 single-use cups a year,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “This waste pollutes our oceans, chokes our landfills and releases untold amounts of harmful carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Still, many coffee shops have policies that don’t allow environmentally conscious consumers to get their own reusable containers filled up. We need to change this culture by creating a ‘Right to Reuse’ in New York. This bill is a simple, cost-saving solution, that will empower New Yorkers to reduce their carbon footprint.”

Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters said, "To meet New York City's zero waste goal, we need to move away from disposable plastic and paper. Single-use plastics often end up clogging our waste stream or polluting our waterways. Guaranteeing that all New Yorkers can use their own reusable containers reduces waste and builds sustainable habits. We are proud to support this legislation and commend Council Member Levine on his leadership."  

“Single-use plastic and paper products wreak havoc on our environment, increasing carbon emissions while destroying marine life. We urgently need to phase out these environmentally harmful and unnecessary products, and the first step is making sure that people have the option of bringing reusable containers to their favorite coffee shop or restaurant. I am proud to join Council Member Mark Levine in supporting this legislation, and thank him for his strong partnership on protecting our environment,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal.  

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