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New York City weighs polystyrene foam ban

By: WASTE & RECYCLING NEWS

February 7, 2013

NEW YORK -- New York City is considering a ban on polystyrene foam food containers.

"I'm proposing legislation to ban Styrofoam in New York City," New York Department of Sanitation Sustainability Director Ron Gonen told the news website DNAInfo.com in a report published earlier this week.

A ban would focus on the city's food service providers, including coffee shops, not consumers, added Gonen, who had been dubbed the city's "recycling czar."

"The onus would not be on the consumer," he said. "This would not be something that the consumer would have to deal with."

When hired in May 2012, Gonen, co-founder and former CEO of Recyclebank, told Waste & Recycling News that one of his priorities was to "dramatically increase the recycling rate" of New York City.

"From a pure dollars-and-cents standpoint, it costs us money to dispose of Styrofoam in a landfill," Gonen told DNAInfo.com. "It's also unhealthy for the environment. It doesn't break down properly."

When contacted by the Associated Press, Gonen stressed that the ban had not been formally proposed and was still under discussion. Any ban would be part of the city's upcoming report on boosting recycling.

"It may or may not be a component of the overall plan," Gonen said.

PS foam bans have been passed by a number of municipalities across the country, including Portland, Ore.; Seattle; Issaquah, Wash.; Brookline, Mass.; and more than 50 cities and towns in California.