NYC Introduces Polystyrene Foam Foodservice Ban Despite Mounting Concerns Over Impact to City's Small Businesses and Taxpayers Restaurant owners, business leaders gather at City Hall to oppose proposal that would cost jobs and increase waste
NEW YORK, June 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Local lawmakers in New York City today announced a bill to ban the sale of polystyrene foam foodservice products, a decision which will negatively impact thousands of New York City businesses, as well as millions of local consumers and taxpayers. The proposal, supported by the Bloomberg Administration, has the potential to cost New York City and state nearly $100 million per year and will do little to reduce solid waste.
"A ban in New York City would cost businesses, consumers and taxpayers millions of dollars, as well as threaten jobs in the restaurant industry, in upstate manufacturing plants, and in companies that reuse foam in the greater metropolitan area," said City Council Member Peter Vallone. "Foam can and should be recycled, and I urge the Mayor to work with the Council to explore this option instead of a ban."
Local restaurant owners joined business leaders at a press conference this afternoon at City Hall to express concern about the effect of a ban on their businesses and bottom line, and encourage the city to explore a recycling initiative.
"I use foam containers because they're great at keeping food fresh and because they're economical," said Rosemary Nunez, owner of La Nueva Estrella El Castillo Restaurant in Brooklyn. "This is just another example of the Administration trampling on the interests of the people who create jobs in this city."
With a ban in place, New York restaurants would need to purchase more expensive alternatives which would pressure already squeezed profit margins. In addition, these more expensive products often don't insulate as well as their foam counterparts for hot drinks, leading to double cupping or the use of a sleeve, which actually raises costs for businesses and increases solid waste. According to a recent study published by MB Public Affairs, for every $1.00 now spent on polystyrene foam foodservice and drink containers, businesses will have to spend at least $1.94 on the alternative replacements, effectively doubling costs.
"Manufacturers throughout upstate New York will suffer significantly with this ill-advised proposal in New York City," said National Federation of Independent Business NY State Director Mike Durant. "Both the Mayor and City Council need to spend more time focusing on sensible solutions to the economic ills of both the City and State rather than promoting unproven and onerous nanny-state mandates such as this."
Beyond the economic impact, polystyrene foam foodservice is lighter and more energy efficient than its most common alternatives – which are also not currently recycled in New York City. A new study completed this month by Moore Recycling Associates on behalf of ACC found that access to polystyrene foam foodservice recycling has expanded much quicker than the recycling of alternative products, and determined that 50% of the population of major cities in California have access to foam recycling, compared with 15% of those same cities recycling or composting paper-based alternatives. By implementing a foam recycling program, New York would join these other leading cities on the cutting edge of resource recovery, building on the recently announced expansion of recycling in the city.
State officials, including Senator Michael F. Nozzolio and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, have already voiced their concerns, asking the Administration and City Council to rethink a potential ban. These officials have highlighted the negative impacts of a ban on their local businesses and on the 1,200 polystyrene jobs in New York State.
"A ban in New York City would have an immediate and dire effect on the in-state businesses that supply New York City restaurants and food service establishments with these containers," said Senator Nozzolio. "This ban will destroy jobs and do nothing to reduce waste. I urge the Mayor and the City Council to explore the option of recycling instead of a ban."
"This proposal will have adverse impacts that will be felt far outside New York City. A ban on these containers is expensive and will result in the loss of jobs across the state," Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said. "This is bad for business, bad for communities and bad for New York."
For more information on the impact of a polystyrene foam ban, the potential for recycling and how to get involved, please visit www.putalidonitnyc.com.
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $760 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is the largest exporting sector in the U.S., accounting for 12 percent of U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.
SOURCE American Chemistry Council