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 Packaging Sustainability Public Policy Government & Legislation Food service
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

Bemis Co. reports sales growth

April 24, 2015 9:57 am ET

Bemis Co. Inc., in what the company is describing as a strong quarter, saw consistent earnings from continuing operations.    More

Image

KHS cuts packaging with direct printing on PET bottles, adhesive multi-packs

April 23, 2015 1:39 pm ET

KHS GmbH has been pouring a lot of time into solving issues related to direct printing on PET bottles, and after eight years of work, everyone...    More

Image

MeadWestvaco joins the Recycling Partnership

April 23, 2015 11:19 am ET

MeadWestvaco Corp., a global packaging company with some operations in plastics, is joining the Recycling Partnership.    More

Image

Sidel, BMS reach agreement on spindle patent case

April 20, 2015 1:24 pm ET

Sidel Group and Blow Mold Services LLC have reached an agreement in Sidel's patent infringement lawsuit against BMS involving the spindle chain on a...    More

Image

Adidas phasing out plastic bag use

April 20, 2015 11:50 am ET

Sporting goods company Adidas AG is phasing out the use of plastic bags in its own retail stores as part of a larger effort raise awareness about ocea...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 15, 2015 - September 17, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events