Hundreds of restaurant owners in New York City are mobilizing to try to block Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging.
In June, the ban was formally submitted to New York’s City Council, where it stands a chance of passing, according to some reports. A recent press release from Restaurant Action Alliance NYC, however, states that a growing number of food-service operators have pressed leaders to shoot down the regulatory action and instead focus on ways to better recycle EPS material. That argument has caught the ear of some decision makers.
“Foam can and should be recycled, and I urge the mayor to work with the Council to explore this option instead of a ban,” said City Council Member Peter Vallone. “We need solutions that work, not window dressing.”
Restaurant owners oppose the ban mainly on financial grounds. According to the restaurant group’s release, a recent study found that for every $1.00 now spent on EPS products, restaurants will have to spend at least $1.94 on replacements. In addition, restaurant owners say replacement materials may fail to insulate as well as EPS containers.
The Restaurant Action Alliance release states that more than 1,000 local business owners have contacted City Council to oppose the ban.
Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, all have regulations in place to curb the commercial use of EPS. A story in The New York Times in February stated that an EPS ban in New York could help save the city money due to EPS’ relatively high costs of collection and recycling.
The EPS action is one of a handful of efforts the Bloomberg administration has made in the waste realm in recent months. The mayor has also expanded compost collection among residents and launched a “Recycle Everything” campaign to help the metropolis continue to boost recycling rates.