NYC lawmakers introduce polystyrene foam foodservice ban

June 13, 2013

Lawmakers in New York City introduced a bill Wednesday that would ban the sale of polystyrene foam foodservice products. The proposal is supported by Mayor Bloomberg and his administration, but has many others in the restaurant community concerned about its impact.

"A ban in New York City would cost businesses, consumers and taxpayers millions of dollars, as well as threaten jobs in the restaurant industry, in upstate manufacturing plants, and in companies that reuse foam in the greater metropolitan area," said Peter Vallone, NYC City Council member. "Foam can and should be recycled, and I urge the Mayor to work with the council to explore this option instead of a ban."

Local restaurant owners joined business leaders at a press conference Wednesday City Hall to express concern about the effect of a ban on their businesses and bottom line and encourage the city to explore a recycling initiative.

They said with a ban in place, New York restaurants would need to purchase more expensive alternatives which would pressure already squeezed profit margins. In addition, these more expensive products often don't insulate as well as their foam counterparts for hot drinks, leading to double cupping or the use of a sleeve, which actually raises costs for businesses and increases solid waste, they added.

Opponents estimate that the proposal has the potential to cost New York City and state nearly $100 million per year and claim it will do little to reduce solid waste.

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Topics: Equipment & Supplies , Sustainability

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