Your Opinion Matters: The Ban on Polystyrene Foam Containers in NYC

In light of the upcoming Star Wars release we pose the question, Do or Do Not, There is No Try. Once said by Yoda, this expression has been seen and quoted around the world in various situations. Today, we are applying it to our own industry: foam container bans. We are not here to formulate your opinion however to give both sides of the reasoning behind the recent NYC ban on polystyrene foam containers. This will provide you a brief understanding of several angles from the situation, in hopes that further research is done for education on this current event.

Against the dispute was an editorial titled, “Try again on plastic-foam container ban” found on CrainsNewYork.Com. The text includes a statement in reference to Dart Container Corporations recent offer to fully fund the startup costs ($2.45 million) associated with New York City’s recycling program;

It doesn’t make sense for the city to re-engineer its recycling program—and rely on subsidies from a single firm to prop up a market—to accommodate a material that makes up a minuscule fraction of the waste stream…Recycling is noble but is not the answer to everything. It should not be an excuse to stop the city’s shift away from plastic-foam food containers to better alternatives.”

In contrast to CrainsNewYork.Com editorial, Dan Loepp from PlasticsNews.Com wrote an editorial titled, “The Time Has Come to Prove the Economic Viability of EPS Recycling.”

“This much is for sure: Manufacturers of single-serve PS food service products are counting on (Judge Margaret) Chan being right. This is an important story. Not quite at the same level as the ban on plastic bags in California. But New Yorkers use a lot of PS, including foam cups and clamshells from takeout restaurants. The city estimates 30,000 tons annually. If New York City bans PS foam, other cities will follow. If the Big Apple can prove that PS is really recyclable, it will give the material a big image boost.”

Why was this brought to the forefront in the first place? New York City’s mayor stated that “the products cause real environmental harm”, even going on to say that “we need to be able to prevent nearly 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene waste from entering our landfills, streets, and waterways. We are reviewing our options to keep the ban in effect.” While these efforts are admirable the fact that the implementation of a foam recycling program could save the city a projected $400,000 per year, was failed to be communicated.

So, now it’s up to you. These are all statistics we hope are further researched for your own education. What are your initial thoughts? Leave us a comment.