NYC To Begin Banning Plastic Foam Containers From Food Establishments In July

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City will begin banning food establishments from using plastic foam containers starting July 1.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced the ban on Thursday.

The ban applies to single-use foam items such as cups, plates, trays or clamshell containers used at food service establishments, stores and manufacturers.

The administration said the sale of polystyrene loose fill packaging, such as packing peanuts, will also be banned within city limits. They can still be used in packages shipped to New York from other places.

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

“While much of the waste we produce can be recycled or reused, polystyrene foam is not one of those materials,” Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said in a statement. “Removing polystyrene from our waste stream is not only good for a greener, more sustainable New York, but also for the communities who are home to landfills receiving the city’s trash.”

Administration officials said the ban will have a grace period, without fines, until January 2016.

Nonprofits and businesses with less than $500,000 in annual revenue could qualify for an exemption from the plastic foam ban. They’d have to prove that using nonfoam materials would create financial hardship.

But Garcia said she does not believe the switch will be a business burden.

“Years and years and years ago, McDonald’s stopped using foam clamshells, and they seem to have done just fine,” she told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb. “There are different alternatives. They could be metal. They could be other plastics, where we have an ability to recycle them.”

Administration officials believe that the ban will remove nearly 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene from the city’s streets, waterways and landfills and it continues de Blasio’s push to create a greener New York City. Last year, he announced an ambitious plan to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 from its 2005 levels.

Former Mayor Micheal Bloomberg wanted the ban on plastic foam containers two years ago, but it never passed.

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