As of July 1st, New York will be enforcing its ban on styrofoam.
What We Know:
- Although the ban was officially enforced today, businesses were given six months to transition before any serious actions take place. The businesses this ban mainly affects is food establishments. Restaurants have used styrofoam for years as to go containers, but now they must find a healthier alternative.
- Next to restaurants, the ban prohibits stores from using “packaging peanuts,” styrofoam pieces that are used to protect fragile items in transit. Businesses have been encouraged to switch to compostable materials. After this six month transition period ends, any establishment caught using styrofoam will be fined $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second and $1,000 for the third.
- The Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, says this bill is way overdue. He said, “there’s no reason to continue allowing this environmentally unfriendly substance to flood our streets, landfills and waterways.” Styrofoam, also known as Polystyrene is made with chemicals that can have a negative affect on human health and the environment. One of these chemicals is hydrofluorocarbons, which can directly affect the ozone layer, thus further adding to the climate change crisis.
- This ban makes New York the largest US city to ban a material, and other cities have began to do the same. Cities that have decided to ban styrofoam include San Diego, Miami Beach, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Maine announced that they will also ban styrofoam by 2021. Maryland and Connecticut also have a ban in the works. Major businesses have also decided to take action in light of this ban. Dunkin, McDonalds and Starbucks are three main companies that plan to implement new environmentally safe options in their restaurants. For example, Starbucks is planning to sell reusable straws and completely abandon their current green plastic straws.
New York is known as the city that never sleeps, everybody is always on the go which means many people take their meals to go. Being that New York is notorious for hot dog stands and pizza sold by the slice, it’ll be interesting to see what the Big Apple decides is a worthy to go container.