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Restaurant Action Alliance NYC

1,000 Restaurants Say No to Polystyrene Foam Ban

Restaurant Action Alliance NYCMore than 1,000 New York City businesses have written letters urging the City Council to oppose the proposed ban on polystyrene foam food service products, according to Restaurant Action Alliance NYC.

If passed, the bill would make it illegal for food establishments to give customers polystyrene foam containers starting July 1, 2015. It would also also ban polystyrene packaging, or “packing peanuts.”

Restaurant Action Alliance NYC says the legislation, which would force New York City’s some 18,000 restaurants to use alternative takeout containers, would increase business costs. It cites a March study from MB Public Affairs that says for every $1 now spent on polystyrene foam products, restaurants will have to spend at least $1.94 on replacements.

The study says more expensive products also do not insulate as well. This can lead to double cupping with the use of sleeves, which raise costs, put additional pressure on profit margins and increase waste. Plus, it takes more energy and more emissions are created from manufacturing and using the alternatives to polystyrene foam foodservice, Restaurant Action Alliance NYC says.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg proposed the ban in June.

Restaurant Action Alliance NYC, working with the American Chemistry Council, has organized the Put a Lid On It NYC campaign urging businesses to send letters to councilmembers asking them to support polystyrene foam recycling. Other cities including Los Angeles and more than 60 cities in California already have foam recycling programs, the group says.

Following the largest expansion of New York City’s recycling program in 25 years, Bloomberg late last month unveiled a multi-channel consumer advertising campaign designed to drive awareness of recycling and motivate New Yorkers to “Recycle Everything,” the new tagline of the effort.

In April, New York City put two initiatives into effect to improve waste and recycling efforts. The first is an expansion of its recycling program to include the recycling of all rigid plastics, including items such as toys, hangers, shampoo bottles, coffee cups and food containers.

The second effort, the Food Waste Challenge, is aimed at reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills. The initiative is expected to help meet NYC’s goal of diverting 75 percent of solid waste from landfills by 2030. Food waste currently comprises one-third of the city’s more than 20,000 tons of daily refuse and restaurants account for 70 percent of commercial food waste.

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5 thoughts on “1,000 Restaurants Say No to Polystyrene Foam Ban

  1. The restaurant owners are right. Banning polystyrene in food service is a sustainability loss to the environment. The package weight and global warming potential of paper versus foam PS is much higher, even without double cupping.

  2. We have the technology to solve this problem, convert the styrofoam back into oil within the communities they were generated. Reduce landfills, reduce transportation carbon foot print, and turn it into oil that will blend directly with home heating oil or diesel fuel that can be used within the community. This is a most viable solution, no ban nor ban enforcements required. Turn-key systems are ready for installation. Full amortization in as little as 13 months, plus the job creation aspects, as these systems need operators, 24/7!

  3. I woudl like to read the restaurant owner association’s study of embodied energy and check boundaries of the study. However, the reason to ban this substance is less relevant to its energy footprint, but rather its human health implications. Polystyrene is made from the monomer styrene, which is classified by our own National Institutes of Health as a Human Carcinogen (12th Report on Carcinogens, National Toxicology Program, NIH). Should we be packaging our consumable foods in carcinogens? Probably not.

  4. Plastic is human made material. It is good but has some bad effect in environment. Thermacole is also a kind of plastic. Thermocole is used in insulate house, office, and packaging too. It is the best for insulator it did not pass out energy. SO best insulator product it is.

  5. The study was done by a public relations firm that did work for McCain-Palin, the Heritage Foundation, etc. It is not a legitimate study. It was done with a pre-determined purposed.

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