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New York, NY - Foam Cups Ban Being Eyed by City

Published on: February 6, 2013 11:00 PM
By: AP
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(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

New York, NY - Could plastic foam containers get 86’d from the menu of takeout food options in the nation’s biggest city?

A sanitation official said Wednesday the idea is under discussion but it’s too soon to say what will get recommended in an upcoming report on increasing recycling rates.

Polystyrene foam, sometimes sold under the brand name Styrofoam, has long been popular among restaurateurs for lightweight, heat-retaining containers, but environmentalists complain it takes years to break down in trash. Some communities around the country have barred eateries from using to-go containers made of it.

As New York City officials prepare a report on how to double the city’s residential recycling rate, the foam is “one of the things that you have to look at,” Department of Sanitation Deputy Commissioner Ron Gonen said by phone Wednesday.


“It may or may not be a component of the overall plan,” due in a few weeks, said Gonen, who oversees recycling and environmental sustainability initiatives.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg last year set a goal of recycling 30 percent of the city’s household trash by 2017, up from about 15 percent now. City Hall is “always willing to take a look at new ways to reduce waste that can’t be recycled or reused,” spokesman John McCarthy said Wednesday.

It costs the city an average of $86 per ton to landfill some 2 million tons of garbage a year; by contrast, the city nets a payment of at least $10 a ton for recycling paper and about $14 a ton for recycling glass and plastic, Gonen said.

“The environmental benefits of recycling are obvious,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is make clear to everyone why it’s important from an economic perspective.”

His agency is looking at a range of ideas for boosting recycling and trimming trash. One notion could be expanding test programs for separating and collecting organic waste, for instance.

Some towns and cities from Seattle to Brookline, Mass., have ordered eateries to stop using polystyrene foam cups and containers. Supporters have said such bans cut down on trash and keep the foam products out of landfills, while opponents have said the measures are overreaching and customers who don’t like such containers can choose restaurants that don’t use them.

A similar proposal has stalled in New York’s City Council in recent years, and restaurateurs aren’t eager to see it take on new life.

“We shouldn’t start banning products until we have done a more full analysis of the costs associated, not only with government but for small businesses,” New York State Restaurant Association spokesman Andrew Moesel said Wednesday. “Now is not the time to continue to put more regulations and cost burdens on an industry that is already struggling to make a profit.”

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Read Comments (12)  —  Post Yours »


 Feb 06, 2013 at 11:39 PM PowerUp Says:

What in the world is happening? Those peeps are out of there nuts.


 Feb 07, 2013 at 06:15 AM Anonymous Says:

there is a reason for term limits, after a while, a person starts feeling like a king, and the results are they go nuts and make these type of laws

terrible stuff we are watching!


 Feb 07, 2013 at 07:39 AM monalisa Says:

Now I get it!! My local supplier has been out of the size we buy for weeks. It must be Barking Mad Bloomie's kapos again!

If it goes through (which it will) how many businesses will this insane idea kill?


 Feb 07, 2013 at 07:50 AM mewhoze Says:

lets ban the banners!!


 Feb 07, 2013 at 08:24 AM pbalaw Says:

I laugh at all of you, while I smoke my out of state cigerettes that you were ok taxing and limiting to death.


 Feb 07, 2013 at 08:31 AM NYlawyer Says:

While Styrofoam takes longer to break down it actually compacts very well. However, if NYC bans Styrofoam the alternative Paper Cups will result in the loss of millions of more trees, pollution of millions of gallons of water to produce Paper Cups and (though climate change is a farce) produce more carbon. The real reason the Department of Sanitation wants to ban Styrofoam is not environmental. Rather the DOS makes money from paper and not from Styrofoam. The DOS could care less about the cost of the ban to businesses. Moreover, Styrofoam is a better insulator then Paper Cups.


 Feb 07, 2013 at 09:11 AM shredready Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

there is a reason for term limits, after a while, a person starts feeling like a king, and the results are they go nuts and make these type of laws

terrible stuff we are watching!

yes lets just pollute create more and more garbage


 Feb 07, 2013 at 09:33 AM tzibrochenkup Says:

As crazy as Bloomberg is and I really hate him too but many of the things that NYC is pioneering other citys follow. Bringing smoking rules to the city, baning more and more areas that you can not smoke, posting calorie counts and of course baning the oversized drinks and others that I can't think of.


 Feb 07, 2013 at 09:49 AM Anonymous Says:

"Mayor Michael Bloomberg last year set a goal of recycling 30 percent of the city’s household trash by 2017"
He's been recycling the same trash since 2001. Mike 2014 is the year we throw out the trash, and that means all the trash you've left us running the city.


 Feb 07, 2013 at 11:05 AM Anonymous Says:

king bloomberg cannot be recycled. time to get rid of the trash


 Feb 07, 2013 at 12:50 PM Pesach Says:

Wow. Such insight. The VIN readers reject a Bloomberg suggestion with barely a reason as to why it's bad. There are some arguments to be made against recycling, but few if any were mentioned. This knee-jerk rejection of anything Bloomberg says and anything that might help the environment is disappointing.


 Feb 07, 2013 at 01:51 PM Giggidy Says:

When oh when will this insipid dictator leave the city when will he be done?when? Someone please tell me!


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