New York City has banned polystyrene foam foodservice containers despite pressure from restaurants and foam manufacturers, which urged the city to support recycling.
Restaurant Action Alliance NYC, whose supporters include more than 1,000 New York City businesses, called the move “an economic and environmental defeat for small business owners and New York City taxpayers” and said it will send thousands of tons of refuse — that can be recycled — into landfills.
In the year since the ban was first introduced, foam manufacturers like Dart Container Corporation were given an opportunity to prove that foam foodservice items could be economically and logistically recycled within the city’s five boroughs. Dart conducted tests that proved this feasibility and offered to recycle the city’s #6 rigid plastics, which are currently dumped into landfills.
Dart’s Michael Westerfield said: “The offer we made was a win for taxpayers, small businesses, and the environment. As a result of the [Department of Sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia’s] decision, taxpayers will continue to pay to landfill foam and solid polystyrene. It also prevents these recyclable materials from being used in the manufacture of new products. As we have repeatedly demonstrated to the Commissioner, there is a strong, existing market for recycled polystyrene.”
The Coalition to Put a Lid on It NYC said Dart’s proposal would save millions of dollars for city businesses and make New York City the largest city in the country to have a comprehensive recycling program for expanded polystyrene and #6 rigid plastics.
Dart and the Coalition to Put a Lid on It NYC says they will continue to attempt to engage the Department of Sanitation and Garcia in talks to advance the city’s recycling program.