Finishing an initiative that began last year with his predecessor, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that starting in July, all plastic foam containers (commonly referred to as “Styrofoam”) will be banned. The ban of this non-biodegradable substance follows the likes of West Coast cities like Seattle and San Francisco that have already banned the substance. Polystyrene containers, packing peanuts, and foam coffee cups will now become illegal for establishments to sell or give away.
“These products cause real environmental harm and have no place in New York City,” de Blasio said in a statement announcing the ban. “We have better options, better alternatives, and if more cities across the country follow our lead and institute similar bans, those alternatives will soon become more plentiful and will cost less. By removing nearly 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene waste from our landfills, streets, and waterways, today’s announcement is a major step towards our goal of a greener, greater New York City.”
Even though the goal was to protect the environment, there are opponents to the new measure, including businesses like takeout restaurants, food trucks, and Halal carts, which use these plastic foam containers quite often and will now have to look for more expensive options. Organizations like The New York Restaurant Association have previously and repeatedly come out against the ban, saying that the ban could end up costing New York City restaurants $57 million increase in costs, even though the difference between a plastic foam and plastic cup is only pennies. However, many New york City restaurants do not really think the ban will be a big deal.
"Non-franchised fast food restaurants and street vendors that still use Styrofoam might find it a hassle at first, not to get rid of the Styrofoam, but to find a new source," Michael Schatzber of Branded Restaurants (Big Daddy's, Duke's, City Crab), told The Daily Meal. "But once they discover the alternatives and place their first order, it will be old news. Remember McDonalds and Burger King stopped using these products years and years ago and it has had no affect on their business.
According to the Associated Press, businesses have a yearlong grace period during which they can throw out plastic foam supplies, and get new, greener containers.