The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Community News Network

December 20, 2013

New York City Council approves plastic-foam container ban

NEW YORK — Plastic-foam food and drink containers in New York are set to go the way of trans fats and smoking in bars as the City Council voted to ban them in the name of environmental responsibility.

The Democratic-led, 51-member body passed the legislation unanimously Thursday in Manhattan. It prohibits restaurants, food carts and stores in the largest U.S. city from selling or providing single-use cups, clamshells and trays, as well as peanut-shaped packing materials, made from a type of thermoplastic petrochemical called expanded polystyrene.

An amendment gives officials a year to determine whether the substance can be recycled in an "environmentally effective, economically feasible and safe" way. If not, the ban will take effect as passed July 2015.

"This is a very important step forward to reduce the city's solid waste stream, to reduce the amount of products that are out there that are dangerous and literally living on for half a century in our landfills," Council Speaker Christine Quinn said at a City Hall news briefing prior to the vote.

The foam ban is part of a slew of initiatives to make New York healthier and more environmentally friendly from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose 12-year tenure ends Dec. 31. Calling for the "environmentally destructive" substance to "go the way of lead paint," Bloomberg proposed the idea in February alongside initiatives for more electric vehicles and a curbside food-composting pilot program.

Almost 100 cities and towns, including San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, have banned polystyrene food and beverage containers, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

New York's ban pitted closely held foam-maker Dart Container Corp. and Restaurant Action Alliance, a group backed by the American Chemistry Council, a trade group representing chemicals and plastics manufacturers, against Bloomberg and the 24 council members who co-sponsored the bill.

The foam doesn't biodegrade and can't be recycled, according to the mayor's office. It makes up an estimated 20,000 tons of the city's annual waste and contaminates the stream of recyclable metal, glass and plastics, the office says.

Dart, which is based in Mason, Michigan, dropped its opposition this month, while saying the legislation still "singles out and unfairly maligns a quality, cost effective and safe line of products."

A report funded by the American Chemistry Council valued annual sales of foam containers in New York at $97.1 million. It said the ban would in effect be an "environmental tax," forcing businesses and consumers to spend almost double on replacements including other plastics, coated paperboard and compostable materials.

The Bloomberg administration disagrees, saying "substantial research" it has conducted found the average cost difference per product would be $0.02.

Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent, is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP. Mayor- elect Bill de Blasio, D, takes office Jan. 1.

           

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • 20140424-AMX-COFFEE24.jpg Coffee growers' prayers for rain met with threat of deluge

    Brazil's drought made arabica coffee this year's best-performing commodity. Now, farmers are facing a downpour that is once more threatening crops.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Celebrity quack moms are a terrible influence on everyday parents

    On April 15, the actress Alicia Silverstone released a book called "The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning." It's chock-full of attachment parenting lessons and dangerous misinformation.

    April 24, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Graduation Salutes
Seasonal Content