NYC Declares Ban on Restaurant Plastic Foam

Foam products that will be banned at a New York City diner.
Foam products that will be banned at a New York City diner.

New York City will ban food establishments from using plastic foam containers starting this summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced Thursday.

De Blasio’s unilateral executive action fulfills an initiative begun by his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, and will make New York the largest city in the country — following San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Oregon — to prohibit the foam containers.

“These products cause real environmental harm and have no place in New York City,” said de Blasio in  a statement. “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.”

The Restaurant Action Alliance condemned the decision, suggesting it would increase costs for eateries.

“The decision to ban foam food service products, which comprise only 10 percent of polystyrene foam material, will send the remaining 90 percent to landfills at the taxpayers’ expense,” the group said in a statement.

Administration officials believe that the ban will remove nearly 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene from streets, waterways and landfills.

The ban will go into effect July 1, but will have a half-year grace period. After that, nonprofits and businesses with less than $500,000 in annual revenue could ask for an exemption if they can prove using nonfoam materials would create financial hardship.

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