NYC eateries protest PS ban as bad for business

Tessa Berenson
CRAIN'S NEW YORK BUSINESS

Published: June 12, 2013 4:15 pm ET
Updated: June 12, 2013 11:33 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy, Sustainability, Government & Legislation, Food service, Packaging
Companies & Associations American Chemistry Council

NEW YORK — A bill banning the sale of polystyrene foam foodservice products in the city introduced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg drew fierce opposition Wednesday.

Bloomberg and the bill's supporters said the measure addresses a major environmental issue. Polystyrene foam takes hundreds of years to break down in landfills, and New York City is not equipped to recycle the plastic foam, they argue. But many New Yorkers mistakenly include it with their plastic recyclables, forcing the city's recycling vendors to remove it by hand. Bloomberg estimates that the transfer of the material to landfills increases the cost of recycling by as much as $20 per ton.

But restaurant owners and business leaders say PS foam is significantly cheaper than substitute materials. They urged the city to consider the negative effect such a ban would have on small businesses at a press conference Wednesday.

"I use foam containers because they're great at keeping food fresh and because they're economical," said Rosemary Nunez, owner of La Nueva Estrella El Castillo Restaurant in Brooklyn. "This is just another example of the administration trampling on the interests of the people who create jobs in this city."

A study conducted by research firm MB Public Affairs on behalf of the American Chemistry Council says the ban could cost the city up to $100 million per year, and that for every $1 now spent on foam containers, businesses will have to spend at least $1.94 on replacements. That increased expense could have a serious impact on small business owners, especially in the restaurant industry.

Norman Edward Brown, legislative director of the New York State Council of Machinists, said a ban on PS foam will eliminate 1,500 jobs in the state and called Bloomberg's bill a "charge against the marketplace."

Instead of a banning the material, speakers urged the City Council to explore plastic-foam recycling. "The premise of this bill is that polystyrene foam is not recyclable, and that is wrong," said Richard Master, CEO of MCS Industries Inc.

Master's company makes picture frames and architectural moldings composed of 98 percent recycled foam material. He estimated companies like his that use recycled polystyrene foam could easily absorb all the annual plastic-foam waste in New York City.

"Polystyrene foam can be, and is, a green material," said Brown, who urged Bloomberg to look to cities such as Los Angeles that require recycling of plastic foam. He said a majority of council members have yet to take a position on the bill.

Critics of polystyrene say it is far less economical to collect, separate and recycle than are mixed paper, rigid plastic, and metal, all of which the city collects separately from regular trash and delivers to private recyclers.


Comments

NYC eateries protest PS ban as bad for business

Tessa Berenson
CRAIN'S NEW YORK BUSINESS

Published: June 12, 2013 4:15 pm ET
Updated: June 12, 2013 11:33 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Austria's Greiner building a foothold in the US rigid packaging market

April 15, 2014 1:22 pm ET

Greiner Packaging International GmbH, one of Europe's largest makers of rigid plastic packaging, now wants to make its mark in the United States.    More

Shell Chemical to host public meetings to discuss plans in Pennsylvania

April 15, 2014 3:27 pm ET

Shell Chemical LP will host two public meetings on April 16 to discuss the possibility of building a major petrochemicals plant in the Pittsburgh...    More

Shintech in early stages of planning ethylene feedstock plant in Louisiana

April 15, 2014 3:22 pm ET

Shintech Inc. has filed an air permit with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality that would allow for the construction of a new unit with ...    More

Image

SodaStream turns to PET for its new pre-measured flavor 'Caps'

April 15, 2014 1:40 pm ET

SodaStream International Ltd., maker of home beverage carbonation systems, is using plastic to bring more flexibility to its consumers.    More

Plastics recycling rates in Michigan will go up, if new initiative works

April 14, 2014 4:15 pm ET

Clean Tech, a unit of Plastipak Packaging Inc., expects to recycle about 6 billion plastic bottles this year and has an eye on 10 billion plastic bott...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events