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Patchogue bans plastic foam cups, containers starting Sept. 4

Under Patchogue's new ban, restaurants and delis will

Under Patchogue's new ban, restaurants and delis will no longer be able to carry plastic foam cups or food containers unless they are biodegradable or recyclable. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Patchogue Village has banned the use of plastic foam cups and containers, contending they are hazardous to the environment.

Dozens of cities nationwide have adopted such bans, and Dunkin’ Donuts on Wednesday announced plans to do away with plastic foam cups in its shops worldwide.

Mayor Paul Pontieri said he wants Patchogue to be environmentally conscious.

“It’s a good bill. If you take a look around Patchogue you’ll find Styrofoam cups all around the bushes and trees,” he said. “I hope other Long Island villages take a look at this.”

Village trustee Joseph Keyes said the products get into the water and harm marine life, and he contended that chemicals used to make the product can leach into food.

Keyes spearheaded Patchogue’s 2016 initiative to ban single-use plastic bags. The village was among the first municipalities on Long Island to do so.

Under the new ban, restaurants and corner delis will no longer be able to carry plastic foam cups or food containers unless they are biodegradable or recyclable.

The delay until September is to allow merchants to exhaust their current supply, village officials said. Patchogue adopted the measure last month.

David Kennedy, executive director of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, said he supports the measure.

“We compliment the village for making the environment a priority. Most of our restaurants have already converted to alternatives to Styrofoam,” he said. “All the chamber members were supportive. We’re on the front lines of protecting the environment.”

While village leaders agree the ban is a positive move for Patchogue everyone may not be on board.

The Restaurant Action Alliance of New York has long argued against New York City’s efforts to ban polystyrene products, arguing the material is in fact recyclable and that more costly alternatives unfairly hurt small businesses. Attempts to reach the alliance were unsuccessful Friday.

The idea is intriguing to Bellport Mayor Ray Fell, who intends to bring up possible legislation to his board soon. “It takes so long for the Styrofoam to break down and there are plenty of alternatives,” Fell said.

“Patchogue is leading the way. This is about change, and we need to change our habits once we learn of an adverse impact,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “We have a responsibility to protect the Patchogue River and the Great South Bay.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the date the ban will take effect.

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