Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed an executive order banning New York City from purchasing single-use plastics to curb climate change. The executive order prohibits city agencies from purchasing plastic food ware, such as utensils, straws and cups, while ordering them to supply compostable or recyclable alternatives instead. Exemptions are in place for emergency and medical purposes and for those with disabilities who require single-use plastics.

From Sims Municipal Recycling in Brooklyn, New York, De Blasio announced the signing of the executive order, saying this is only one action with more to come in the city’s fight against climate change. “Today, we say no to plastics, we say no to fossil fuel,” he said. “We say yes to a better, fairer future.”

The ban takes effect immediately as “this crisis is happening right now,” he said, adding, that all government agencies will have to comply within 120 days with full implementation to be in place by the end of 2019.

He said every year the sanitation department collects 36 million pounds of single-use plastic food ware and this initiative will reduce the use of these items by 95 percent while reducing the city’s carbon emissions by 500 tons a year. “This is part of a series of actions you are going to be seeing a lot more of,” he said.

The next step is to get a similar ban in place for the private sector, he said, adding he has spoken with council and aims for legislation to be in place by the end of this year. “This is one action today and there must be many more, they must be frequent, they must be intense, they must be everywhere,” he said.

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