So long, packing peanuts, styrofoam cups, and foam takeout containers. De Blasio’s administration is expected to announce a ban on the environmentally-hostile packing stuff later today, fulfilling one of the dreams of his predecessor Mayor Bloomberg. The ban will go into effect on July 1, and will prohibit the sale of styrofoam containers within New York City (though they can still be sent to you from outside). That’ll probably go a long way towards lessening the landfill burden of the city. In 2014, New York produced 28,000 tons of polystyrene, a material that clogs landfills and doesn’t biodegrade for hundreds of years.
New York won’t be the first to put the kibosh on styrofoam. Cities began banning the stuff way back in the 80s, starting with Berkeley and Suffolk County, New York. Portland and San Francisco also banned the stuff.
“This has been a movement that’s gone on for a very long time,” Kathryn Garcia, the city’s sanitation commissioner, told the New York Times. “Clearly, there are alternatives out there that are much more environmentally friendly.”
Previous measures had been met with opposition by Dart Container Corporation, a major manufacturer of plastic foam products. The City Council actually passed a bill in 2013 that would allow the mayor to ban styrofoam if the sanitation commissioner determined that it’s not recyclable. And, lo and behold, it isn’t. There will be exemptions for certain businesses making less than $500,000, for whom switching to other, more expensive packaging would be an undue hardship. But for the most part, kiss those foam containers goodbye.