Restaurant Law Blog

Thursday, January 9, 2014

City Council to Vote on NYC Styrofoam Ban

A ban on foam food containers will likely pass during today’s City Council vote. This ban will be considered a victory for Mayor Bloomberg during his final days in office, but could cost restaurant owners who will be forced to switch to more expensive materials like paper or plastic for to-go packaging.

Mayor Bloomberg has long argued that food foam containers, which are made out of expanded polystyrene, are extremely difficult to recycle and are filling up the city’s landfills. Not surprisingly, the makers of foam products disagree and argue that it is possible to recycle these products in a cost-effective way.

In response to the foam companies’ arguments, Bloomberg’s original proposal was amended to give Styrofoam makers a chance. Dart Container Corporation, one of the largest producers of foam products, has been given until January 1, 2015 to prove that the containers can be recycled efficiently. However, if Dart Container fails to demonstrate this, the ban will take effect shortly thereafter on July 1, 2015.

The bill does allow businesses that gross less than $500,000 per year and non-profit organizations to apply for a waiver from the law. Additionally, those who violate this law within the first year will only be subjected to warnings; fines will be implemented the following year.


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