Taking sustainability back to the annals of time, Council Member Erik Bottcher has announced dramatic new legislation that would ban all single-use paper products in New York City.

Erik Bottcher Toilet Paper
Council member Erik Bottcher is proposing a ban on single-use paper in New York. Photo montage: Phil O’Brien & Colorblind Kevin/Unsplash

Standing in the household cleaning aisle of the Hell’s Kitchen’s Target amid piled-high stacks of Brawny paper towels, a flushed Bottcher defended the move as a worthy challenge to eco-conscious urban dwellers tired of the city’s costly fight against fatbergs. 

“If anyone can pull this off, New Yorkers can,” said New York City Council Member Bottcher. “I don’t know about you, but my dream is to live in a world where people look at a roll of toilet paper and say, ‘What is that?’” 

Under the Council Member’s new legislation, the sale of paper products such as facial tissues, paper napkins, paper towels, cardboard boxes, gift wrap and most notably — toilet paper — would be banned outright in the Big Apple, with residents required to surrender their contraband at drop-off locations around the five boroughs within one year of the law’s passing, or face escalated fines. 

Toilet Paper 9th Avenue
As news spread of the toilet paper ban on Friday, 9th Avenue was filled with shoppers stocking up. Photo: Phil O’Brien

But skirting the law is a risk that local residents hearing of the Council Member’s plan are willing to take. “Bottcher can pry my Amazon boxes out from under my cold, dead body,” said Sandra Bezos, who told W42ST that she “prefers” to keep a floor-to-ceiling pile of shopping boxes in her foyer “just in case.” Others were seen sprinting through the 10th Avenue Target grabbing cartfuls of Cottonelle and Angel Soft toilet paper, careful not to run into the Council Member, who they now consider the paper-party-pooper-in-chief. “He’s not going to ruin my bathroom routine,” said John Throne as he toted two cartfuls of TP towards the checkout. “We’re going to have to impose a buying limit before this law even passes,” Target cashier Sarah sighed, as she scanned hundreds of dollars worth of paper products for John alone. 

Some sustainability advocates argued that an all-out ban was the only way to truly move the needle of reducing the city’s landfill numbers. “I prefer to think of it as bringing back handkerchiefs,” said Scottie Cotton, President of CAK (Coalition Against Kleenex). “New York City has the opportunity to lead the world once again — this time with handkerchiefs.”

Run on paper goods
Local supermarkets and bodegas reported that shelves were being emptied of paper goods on Friday evening.

It seemed that Cotton’s preferred strategy was already in full force over at bespoke clothing boutique Fine and Dandy, where owner Matt Fox said that he had already pulled apart desperate shoppers fighting over pocket squares. “We literally had a run on handkerchiefs and pocket squares on Friday afternoon. We’d heard rumors of the TP ban, but didn’t expect the lines outside the store or the fights,” he said, adding that he was considering hiding out to survive the paper purge. “I guess that bunker I built in March 2020 is going to come in handy.” 

Others emphasized that West Siders were taking a far too apocalyptic approach to the potential legislation, which still needs the full Council and Mayor Eric Adam’s sign off before 2-ply goes down the pan. A ban on the sale of 2-ply toilet paper would take effect immediately, followed by a ban on single-ply on April 1, 2024.

Matt Fox at Fine and Dandy has been cleared out of handkerchiefs and pocket squares. Photo: Phil O’Brien

“Humanity survived for thousands of years without toilet paper,” said Anita Dolly, Regional Director of the American Textile Institute. “Arguably, people were happier back then. In a time of great division in our country, I hope this legislation is something we can all agree on.”

Late last night, rumors started to circulate on social media that Council Member Bottcher had actually stockpiled some toilet paper. He explained that this was not for his personal use, but for a puppy dog that he’s thinking of adopting…

toilet paper dog
Council Member Bottcher insisted that any stockpile he had of toilet paper was just in case he finally adopts a puppy.

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Join the Conversation


  1. He needs a labotomy. How did he ever get elected! Enough already! This is idiotic! I am appalled at this nonsense!

  2. I don:t want to admit how many paragraphs it took me to realize this was an April Fools joke. Good one! Lol!

  3. Idiotic. He’s showing how out of touch he is. It’s not even a good April Fools joke.

    But now that you mention it, I’m in favor of bringing hankies back into fashion.

  4. Yeah, I fell for it! But Im with Marisa…lets bring back hankies! What happened to all the well dressed men in the world-with their pocket hankies?! (Theyre not here in HK!)

  5. While you all think of this as a joke, I don’t. Anything is possible in this City. Did you ever think gas stoves would be banned? Certain washing machines likewise. Wait ’til they ban woman’s cosmetics and condoms too. You vote for these people and you get what you never thought possible.

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