In his State of the City address yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio reaffirmed his support to ban plastic straws in New York City.

The following statement was issued by John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs:

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio for keeping efforts moving to ensure New York City is a leader in reducing single-use plastics that are polluting our oceans and harming wildlife worldwide.

Plastic straws are among the most common litter items found on our beaches and in the world’s oceans. Sixty to 80 percent of all marine debris is composed of plastic; animals are dying and getting sick due to plastic, either by ingesting it or getting entangled in plastic debris.

“In 2018, Councilman Rafael Espinal proposed legislation that would eliminate the use of most single-use plastic straws in New York City. We welcome the mayor’s support and are hopeful the legislation will become law in 2019. We are encouraged by the many businesses in the city that have already stopped offering plastic straws as a matter of habit. WCS and its New York Aquarium’s campaign to eliminate single-use plastic straws in the cityGive a Sip, already has 175 partners, including Montefiore Medical Centers, Pace University, and the Yemeni American Merchants Association, which are on the front lines educating customers in 4,000 bodegas across the five boroughs. More than 150,000 individuals have also pledged to stop using plastic straws.

“The legislation will prevent food service establishments in New York City from offering consumers single-use beverage straws or stirrers made of plastic or other non-biodegradable material.  It would still allow food service establishments to offer biodegradable and reusable straws to consumers. It also includes exemptions that allow food service establishments to continue to offer appropriate straws for people with disabilities or medical conditions. Further, we are beginning to reach out to and work with the disability community to ensure this law has the right accommodations. Since this law will take effect 180 days after passage, it allows time for consumers to become educated on the issue and food service establishments to prepare to make appropriate changes.

“A single straw may seem like nothing. It’s not. Tons of plastic enter oceans around the world each year. New York can help lead the way by saying no to plastic straws.

“To support the legislation, learn more, and download a toolkit, go to: