Bloomberg proposes ban on Styrofoam during State of the City


Styrofoam (Credit: (Getty Images))

The city's main to-go food container has got to go, the mayor said.

Mayor Michael Bloom-berg on Thursday proposed a ban of all Styrofoam food containers in the city, saying the material is destructive to the environment and a burden on taxpayers.

"Something that we know is environmentally destructive, that is costing taxpayers money, and that is easily replaceable, is something we can do without," Bloomberg said during his 12th and final State of the City address.

"So with Speaker [Christine] Quinn and the City Council, we will work to adopt a law banning Styrofoam food packaging from our stores and restaurants," he said.

Bloomberg added that Styrofoam increases the cost of recycling by up to $20 per ton, and that it is "virtually impossible to recycle and never biodegrades."

The ban -- which needs to be passed by the City Council -- is one part of Bloomberg's sweeping green initiatives for the remainder of his final term.

The initiatives also include doubling the city's recycling rate to 30% by 2017, a push for more electric cars and accommodations for them, and reducing the city's carbon footprint by 30% over the next 10 years.

Some store owners said a Styrofoam ban could hurt business.

"For the customers, putting their hot food in plastic containers would be bad -- those can melt," said Hong Yoo, a manager at Bryant Market deli on Sixth Avenue.

"We supply Styrofoam because there's a demand for it," he said, adding that it "costs less than plastic."

Dunkin' Donuts, which uses Styrofoam for its coffee cups, said a "viable cup solution does not exist today."

"A polystyrene ban will not eliminate waste or increase recycling; it will simply replace one type of trash with another," Dunkin' Donuts spokeswoman Sarah Grill said.

Still, some New Yorkers agree with the ban.

"I'm for it. I like to be health conscious and environmentally friendly," said Sue Jun, 28, of the West Village.

"If it would increase the price, I'd still support it, but only if it didn't increase the price too much," she said.

Lindsay Chamberlain, 22, who works in Midtown, agreed.

"I'm all for it and a ban on things that are bad for the environment," she said. "I think it could be good for the city."

Either way, as with Bloomberg's bans on trans fats, large soda cups and smoking in bars, the only option may be acceptance.

"I mean, if Bloomberg bans something then it's final," Yoo said. "What can you do?"


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