Friday, June 7th, 2013

Website Counters Proposed Polystyrene Foam Ban in New York City


The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has created a new coalition website to increase awareness of the many negative impacts that will result if a proposed ban of polystyrene (PS) foam foodservice products in New York City is enacted. The ACC says the site, which is called “Put a Lid On It NYC”, is aimed at encouraging city leaders to explore the opportunities for and advantages of recycling the PS foam items, rather than legislating a ban and having to enforce it.

The city’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, proposed the ban and it’s expected that the New York City Council will begin considering it soon. Momentum is already growing against the ban among restaurant owners and various industry organizations, and the information on the website will help business owners, as well as consumers, recognize the impacts and use them to make the case against the ban to their local elected officials.

Accordingly, the website’s first pull-down tab is “Get the Facts.” Click it and a compact listing of issues appears, with sections on recycling, environmental impacts, economic impacts, and the impacts specifically on businesses. To take just one area, contrary to what many read on the Internet and repeat, PS foam is being recycled right now, and it has been for decades. It’s not being done in New York City, but the Big Apple also not have commercial recycling available for paper-based foodservice items either.

The website makes clear that there already is a market for recycled PS foam in the tri-state (NJ/NY/CT) area, with an established recycling business in operation across the Hudson River in North Brunswick, NJ. The environmental and economic advantages of PS foam versus coated paperboard are similarly compelling.

One business owner, Elizabeth Sandigo of Grand Bakery in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, said, “ A ban is not the answer. I use these products because they work and because they are economical. The alternatives cost more, which will hurt my bottom line and my ability to create jobs. The City needs to stop adding to the burden of doing business here in the name of ineffective proposals that do nothing to address the issues they are meant to solve.”

The website’s other resources include news updates and recent announcements, downloadable research reports, information about communities already recycling polystyrene foam foodservice items, and how-to information for those wanting to contact their City Council member. And there’s more. Check it out for yourself at and you’ll be much better informed about PS foam recycling in general, as well as the particular situation in New York City.


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