February 16, 2013

Next for NYC: Ban on foam containers?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg adds another target to his list of public health initiatives.

The Associated Press

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Polystyrene containers are popular for takeout foods, but advocates of a ban argue that the plastic is harmful for the environment. Two other cities, San Francisco and Seattle, have already banned the containers.

The Associated Press

The mayor's proposal would have to be drafted into legislation and passed by the City Council before becoming law.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn supports it. But a similar proposal has stalled in the City Council in recent years.

Industry groups have already begun to prepare for a bill to surface.

"As the legislative process moves forward, we hope that all parties listen to small businesses like restaurants and take into account how it'll affect them," said Andrew Moesel, spokesman for the city restaurant association.

Marina Pena, 40, a school counselor from Washington Heights, said she'd prefer to be more eco-friendly, but it's not her decision.

"If I had an option, I'd bring my own containers or get it served on something else, but this is all they give you," said Pena, who bought lunch served in a plastic foam container from a midtown Manhattan food cart. "I know it's bad for the environment. I know you can't recycle it."

Fish Yu, a part-time manager of the popular Chinese restaurant Ollie's on 42nd Street, said his restaurant uses at least 150 plastic foam containers a day.

He said being forced to use alternatives to plastic foam would likely be more expensive.

"If they say so, we'll have to charge it to the customers," he said.

 

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