State Senator Nozzolio And Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb Oppose Mayor Bloomberg's Ban On Polystyrene Foam

Apr 02, 2013, 12:06 ET from Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb

Letter to Mayor Details Costs to State Businesses and Jobs, Urges Recycling

NEW YORK, April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb today urged New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council to reconsider a potential ban on polystyrene foam foodservice.  They have both sent official letters to Mayor Mike Bloomberg highlighting the negative effects on state-wide businesses and the 1,200 polystyrene jobs in New York State that will be in jeopardy if such a ban is instituted in the five boroughs.      

"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 not only harm businesses and consumers in Mayor Bloomberg's backyard – it will also destroy jobs in mine.  I urge the Mayor and the City Council to explore the option of recycling instead of a ban."

Because of its light weight and low price, most polystyrene foam foodservice is manufactured in close proximity to its final market.  This means that a ban in New York City will have a deep impact on New York companies that manufacture the foam.  The largest manufacturer, which employs over 1,000 New Yorkers, is located in Senator Nozzolio and Assemblyman Kolb's district.

The letter comes after the release of an economic impact study which shows the proposed ban will cost the city and state's businesses, consumers, agencies and tax payers nearly $500 million each year. 

"The impact of a ban on polystyrene foam in New York City would be devastating for localities across the state – especially in my district, where manufacturing is an economic engine," Leader Kolb said.  "At a time when New York still faces steep fiscal challenges, we cannot afford to introduce measures that eliminate jobs, increase regulatory hurdles and drive expenses up for taxpayers.  I encourage the Mayor and City Council to consider alternatives that would preserve jobs and maintain financial stability in our communities." 

Paper products, such as coffee cups and paper food service items, are the most common alternative to foam and cannot be recycled according to the City of New York Department of Sanitation's own website.  These products also do not insulate as well, leading to double cupping or the use of a sleeve, which actually increases solid waste and would further increase costs.

"For millions of New Yorkers polystyrene products deliver their first cup of coffee and their evening meal, because the products are safe, versatile, and inexpensive," said Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State. "The Business Council believes that a bans on the product is unjustified and will adversely affect not only those who use the products daily but also the many others whom produce polystyrene products."

"The state's economy is influenced very heavily by what happens in New York City and this ban will have a direct effect on suppliers, wholesalers and retailers far beyond the city limits," said NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant. "Small businesses, including those in New York City, should not be force-fed additional government imposed mandates that further stifle our economy."

Manufacturer's Association of Central New York (MACNY) President Randy Wolken stated, "While we appreciate Mayor Bloomberg's concern for promoting an environmentally-conscience city, an outright ban on polystyrene foam is not the way to do so.  A ban of polystyrene foam is going to have an adverse effect on the economy immediately, to include putting hundreds of Upstate manufacturing jobs at risk.  Instead we urge Mayor Bloomberg to implementation recycling of this environmentally friendly and recycle-friendly product, and in turn allow family-supporting jobs to remain in New York State and continue to support our State's economy."

Polystyrene foam can be recycled and recycling programs exist in 65 cities across the country – including Los Angeles.  

"We are calling on the Mayor to explore the possibility of recycling this foam as an alternative to an outright ban," they wrote.  "Reducing waste and increasing recycling are laudable goals, but the truth is, this ban will not accomplish those objectives, and will harm a great many hard-working New Yorkers. 

The ban on polystyrene foam foodservice was announced at the Mayor's State of the City address and is expected to be introduced to the City Council in the coming weeks. 

SOURCE Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb