April 23, 2021

New York City is Planning to Ban Plastic Beverage Bottles by Jan. 1, 2021

The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio has signed an executive order (titled Eliminating Unnecessary Single-Use Plastic Bottles) the other day banning the sale of single-use plastic beverage bottles on both city-owned and leased properties. This means the bottles could vanish from an area nearly equivalent to a quarter of the city and that city agencies are no longer allowed to purchase or sell beverages that are packaged in single-use containers.

This would eliminate at least 1 million single-use plastic beverage bottles that the city buys each year, according to the executive order. It could also have wide-ranging effects since the city owns or leases over 17,000 properties spread over an area about twice the size of Manhattan (roughly 43,000 acres). It includes city parks and, by extension, The Trump Organization’s two skating rinks in Central Park and golf course in Ferry Point Park in the Bronx and two skating rinks in Central Park.


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Fossil fuels are an integral part of the production process of single-use plastics, they do not biodegrade, they break down into smaller pieces, ending up polluting our waterways and enter our food stream.

Ben Kallos, city councilman introduced two bills in 2018 to stop the city from selling single-use plastic bottles on city property. Now, he is working on the city council to pass legislation and make the ban into law. This would prevent someone from trying to reverse de Blasio’s executive order, and he said: “We can change what normal is and get to a more sustainable future. We don’t have a choice because there is a climate emergency and we can show Trump the right way to do it.

Another part of this order is “Development of a Reduction Plan” when on June 30th of 2020 every city agency will need to develop and submit a plan to the mayor’s Office of Contract Services and the mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

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Brownsville Community Justice Center

The main goal of this plan is to eliminate the unnecessary purchase and sales of single-use plastic beverage bottles by January 1st, 2021. The executive order states; “a single-use plastic beverage bottle refers to a drink, such as water, in a sealed rigid plastic bottle having a capacity of 21 fluid ounces or less.” Each city agency’s reduction plan will need to include (but not limited to) the following criteria:

  • A description of current sales and purchases of single-use beverage bottles on city-owned or leased property.
  • A description of the agency’s projects, programs, actions, and policies that they plan to implement to become compliant.
  • A description of the steps the agency will take limiting new contract commitments for purchasing single-use plastic beverage bottles.
  • A description of new or renewed contracts including concessions agreements contains provisions to limit the purchase or sale of single-use beverage bottles with a time frame for these provisions.
  • And a description of accommodations for the “necessary” use or sale of single-use beverage bottles.

We hope that this order will hopefully encourage people to use refillable beverage containers for their water or other drinks and that more cities around the country and the world will implement single-use plastic beverage container bans like this, not just on plastic beverage bottles.

Thankfully, a similar law to ban plastic bags in the entire state of New York begins on March 1st, 2020.

New York City would likely become the first municipality to limit plastic bottle sales for not just water, but all beverages. San Francisco decided in 2014 to stop selling bottled water on city property and expanded that policy to San Francisco International Airport last year. Also, Concord, Massachusetts, passed a city ordinance in 2012 ending the sale of bottled water anywhere in the town.

Plastic pollution is covering the planet, making its way into the bellies of sea life and exacerbating the climate crisis because it’s made with fossil fuels. And less than 10 percent of all plastics that have been thrown away have actually been recycled.

They are hurting the earth,” de Blasio said. “We don’t need them. Time to get rid of them.”