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Food Industry Rallies Against Proposed NYC Foam Container Ban; Quinn Sees Measure Passing

Mayor Bloomberg Called For Ban During Feb. State Of The City Address
Stryofoam Container In Food Cart (file/credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

Stryofoam Container In Food Cart (file/credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – New York City restaurant owners are speaking out against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on plastic foam cups and food containers.

Opponents rallied on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday before a City Council meeting where the ban was to be introduced.

Speakers said the ban would cut 1,500 jobs in the polystyrene industry. They said it also would hurt small businesses like delis and bodegas, since alternative materials such as aluminum are much more expensive.

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. suggested recycling the containers instead.

“Before we end these 1,500 jobs, before we double the cost, let’s try recycling. Is that too much to ask? I’m an environmentalist, I’m also a reasonable person and a business person. And I say let’s not cut these jobs, let’s not double the costs, let’s not hurt our economy right now,” Vallone Jr. said.

Protesters said the ban could cost the city and state as much as $100 million a year.

The demonstrators held signs reading “Put A Lid On It,” 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reported.

But also speaking Wednesday, City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn said she supports and is excited about the mayor’s efforts to ban plastic foam containers in the city.

“Look we have an enormous solid waste management plan. And Styrofoam – I mean, at the end of all time, the only things that are going to be left are cockroaches and Styrofoam unless we do something about it. Maybe Cher, I don’t know, but aside from Cher, cockroaches and Styrofoam – that is it,” Quinn told reporters including WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.

Quinn said the ban would be an important environmental and waste management step for the city, and said she thinks the measure will pass.

Bloomberg proposed the plastic foam ban in his State of the City speech in February.

He said the containers are “virtually impossible to recycle.”

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