Paper chaste

City environmentalists want to eighty-six the extras from your next takeout.


Photo: Beth Levendis

Scrounge through most New Yorkers’ kitchens, and you’re likely to find a stash of napkins and plastic utensils from food deliveries past. But if Anna Ayers of Ecoagents, a nonprofit environmental organization, has her way, you won’t automatically be handed a fresh supply with every new order.

Ayers and colleague Fabian Lliguin have just launched ECO TO GO, an awareness campaign offering New Yorkers a chance to say no to the future landfill that comes with takeout. When you say the catchphrase, participating eateries will give you only one napkin—and no forks and spoons. “Most people have silverware,” explains Ayers. “This gives New Yorkers an opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint.” So far, five restaurants on the Upper East Side, including EJ’ s Luncheonette and Le Gourmet, have signed on, agreeing to display ECO TO GO decals in their windows, and Ayers plans to hit midtown next.

Ayers sees the eco-conscious campaign as a complement to the nonprofit’s primary ambition, which is to teach indigenous Amazonians to not sign away their land to mining and lumber concerns. “They’re the key to preserving the rain forest,” she says. (An upcoming benefit to raise money for an Institute of Tribal Rights in Ecuador will feature Antiques Roadshow stars Leigh and Leslie Keno.)

As for ECO TO GO, Ayers says that while refusing extra napkins doesn’t seem like much, it’s a start. “We’re hoping to plant a seed. If everyone did something like this, millions of tons of paper and plastic waste would be eliminated.”—Daniel Derouchie

The benefit for Ecoagents takes place Mar 15 at DP Photo Studio at 8:30pm. Call 212-464-7806.


Photo: Beth Levendis