New York Foam Ban Leads to Missed Opportunity

New York City’s official decision to ban all polystyrene products come July 1, 2015 has consumers, small business owners and lobbyists throughout the city left puzzled. Polystyrene foam, commonly mistaken for “Styrofoam” which is a trademark of the Dow Chemical Co., is an inexpensive and quality packaging entity, utilized by many fast food restaurants and small businesses–particularly halal carts in NYC. The NY foam ban was implemented under the impression that polystyrene foam cannot be recycled economically–yet groups have been recycling the material for years all across the country, and in fact, Dart Container Corporation offered to pay to implement a more effective recycling program in NYC.

For businesses that aren’t parts of big corporations or conglomerates, the need to an alternative takes an unnecessary toll on their operational costs, and company officials and small business owners alike are confused as to why this step was taken if recycling is possible and covered financially.

“We are puzzled by the city’s decision to continue sending alternative food service and foam packaging to landfills instead of saving money by recycling foam at curbside,” said Mike Levy of Plastics Foodservice Packaging Group of the American Chemistry Council. He also pointed out that alternatives are no better.

Michael Westerfield of Dart also commented that the New York foam ban was a losing decision. “The offer we made was a win for taxpayers, small businesses, and the environment. As a result of the Commissioner’s decision, taxpayers will continue to pay to landfill foam and solid polystyrene,” he said.