More 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.