Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) opened the new year by announcing that the city’s new styrofoam ban will come into effect.
This new ban will be the end of styrofoam sale and use within the New York City food establishments, stores, food carts, and the use of styrofoam in packaging.
“Global warming is threatening our city, and to fight it, we have to change the way we live,” said de Blasio. “The 60 million pounds of styrofoam New Yorkers throw away each year clog our landfills and fuel the petroleum economy destroying our planet. We’re ending this dirty practice so we can ensure a cleaner, fairer future for our children.”
“Foam products cannot be recycled, plain and simple, and they have no place in our daily lives,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “Foam is a source of litter in our neighborhoods, and it clogs our storm drains and pollutes our beaches. We cannot achieve zero waste without addressing the single-use products ubiquitous in modern life. This is our first step.”
The ban has been in the works since 2013, in accordance with Local Law 142 in 2013 when it was decided that foam products which were intended for single-use and cannot be recycled are a detriment the environment.
“The scientific evidence is overwhelming: we are choking our planet with plastic, one styrofoam container, plastic bag, straw, and bottle at a time. After a five-year series of court battles with an industry committed to preserving plastic pollution, I’m thrilled that we are finally banning styrofoam in New York City,” said City Council Member Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington) “Let’s keep the momentum going. Styrofoam down. Plastic bags, straws, and bottles still to go.”
The law focuses on the future for the city and those who will inherit it. Students from schools who partner with Cafeteria Culture – an organization which teaches children the importance of recycling and pollution held a self-made poster of a whale swimming with the caption “I do not want foam in my home.”
There are a few exceptions to the ban including containers used for prepackaged food, containers used to hold perishable meat products, and foam blocks which are used as protective packaging.
While the ban goes into effect with the start of 2019, businesses who might be affected by it have a warning/ grace period until June 30 2019 to accord to the new rules of the ban before they suffer penalties.
“Today marks an important step towards our City’s goal of diverting zero waste to landfill by 2030,” said City Council Member Antonio Reynoso (D-Bushwick, Greenpoint, Williamsburg), Chair of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management, in a written statement.
“Banning such materials from our City is critical to our future sustainability and I look forward to working with the administration to examine the potential for banning other non-recyclable materials in order to meet our zero by 30 targets,” he added.