Customers at Chicago restaurants will now have to request disposable plastic items

Single use foodware
Single use foodware Photo credit Getty Images

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago’s “Single-Use Foodware Ordinance” goes into effect next week. This week, city officials told restaurants what that means for their businesses and customers.

The ordinance is designed to cut down on waste in general and plastic waste in particular. Starting next Tuesday, eateries in Chicago can only give patrons single use items like plastic forks and spoons, chopsticks and coffee stirrers if they ask for them.

Max Budovitch, with the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, conducted a webinar Thursday for businesses to go over the new policy.

"Whether it's on an app, whether it's online or otherwise, all sales platforms-the food-dispensing establishment must offer some kind of option for customers to affirmatively request single use foodware."

Budovitch told business owners during the webinar there are some exceptions to the ordinance, like food from a drive- through window.

"Meals or food provided through that window may come with single use foodware without the need for that affirmative request," he explained. "However, the rest of the establishment would be covered by the ordinance."

Another exception is if the restaurant has a station where patrons can get their own forks, knives and napkins.