New York mayor focuses on Styrofoam for latest citywide ban

Published: Thursday, June 13 2013 1:00 p.m. MDT

New legislation presented Wednesday that would abolish the use of Styrofoam cups and containers from city stores and eateries in New York City.

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NEW YORK CITY — Although the future of New York City's oversized sodas and sugary drinks ban is unclear, Mayor Bloomberg is actively working on his next citywide ban: Styrofoam.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn supported legislation presented Wednesday that would abolish the use of Styrofoam cups and containers from city stores and eateries.

Polystyrene foam has long been popular in the restaurant business as lightweight, heat-retaining containers, The Associated Press reported, but environmentalists say it takes years to break down in trash, which had led some communities around the country to bar businesses from using it for food containers.

"At the end of time, the only things that are going to be left are cockroaches and Styrofoam unless we do something about it," Quinn said during a press conference.

The bill was introduced two years ago to start a pilot program for Styrofoam recycling. Dunkin' Donuts, who uses Styrofoam coffee cups, believe the change will not impact recycling as anticipated.

"A polystyrene ban will not eliminate waste or increase recycling; It will simply replace one type of trash with another," Dunkin' Donuts said in a statement when the ban was first introduced in February.

Restaurant owners protested the new legislation on Wednesday, citing the ban would force them to raise the prices in their food, which could ultimately make them lose customers, WABC reported. The new legislature would cause restaurateurs to change from low-cost Styrofoam, which costs about 7 to 8 cents a container, to paper containers that cost about 15 cents a piece.

"I've heard the mayor and everyone say that small business is the backbone of our city. Let's not hurt the backbone, because we won't be able to stand up straight," City Councilman Robert Jackson said to WABC.

The Styrofoam ban will be voted on by the Council later this year. Last year, the mayor attempted to bypass City Council to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. The big soda ban bypassed the Council, going straight to the Board of Health and was tossed out by a judge in March. A state appeals court heard the city’s appeal on Tuesday.

Editor's Note: The original version of this story posted on June 13, 2013, failed to properly attribute all source materials, which violates our editorial policies. The story was revised on Oct. 10, 2013, to link to original source material.

Email: crenouard@deseretnews.com

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