New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city would end its purchase of single-use plastic water bottles and plastic food ware, CBS New York reports.
According to the mayor’s office, the city spends about $20 million a year on single-use plastic items.
“We are ending the default use of plastic,” de Blasio said in the Brooklyn Navy Yard speech. “This is going to be one of the biggest steps any city has ever taken.”
The mayor said over 500 million pounds of plastic are thrown away each year in New York City — enough to fill Yankee Stadium more than 1,000 times, CBS New York reports.
“The amount of waste we produce in this city is just staggering,” de Blasio said. “We’re using an enormous amount of plastic and we have to break that habit.”
According to a press release from the mayor’s office, the initiative is part of a series of environmental decisions de Blasio and his administration have made since he declared climate change an emergency in April.
The directive applies to all city agencies. The mayor said it’s expected to save roughly 30million single-use plastic items every year.
“We have a message for the fossil fuel industry: You may own Washington, but we own New York City! And we’re not backing down.” de Blasio said in a statement.
The announcement from Mayor Bill de Blasio made Wednesday comes as environmental groups and other local governments are increasingly banning plastic straws and other items. California last year became the first state to ban sit-down restaurants from automatically giving out plastic straws.
Single-use plastics are those that are used for only a short period before being thrown away. Some examples include plastic bags and takeout containers.
The mayor’s executive order sets a target for the end of 2020 for all agencies, including the Food Services Department, to stop buying single-use plastic bottles and straws.
“We must find ways to cut our use of these materials in half by 2030, which will dramatically reduce the trash in our landfills, streets, and waterways,” de Blasio said in a statement. “This is an ambitious goal that we know we can reach.”
According to the mayor’s office, New York City has 8.6 million residents and more than 45 million tourists a year.
“There are literally millions of tons of plastic pollution out in our environment hurting marine life, hurting wildlife,” de Blasio told The Times. “It’s just unacceptable.”
De Blasio said eliminating single-use plastics “isn’t just an investment in our future. It’s an investment in every New Yorker.”