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Dart drops opposition to New York City foam bill

By: Jeremy Carroll

December 16, 2013

Dart Container Corp. is backing off its opposition to a measure that could ultimately ban polystyrene in New York City because of a potential recycling compromise.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed banning the material from food service facilities in the city, and Dart Container, along with the American Chemistry Council, has lobbied against it for months. But a compromise appears to be on the table in the form of a one-year recycling test.

During a hearing for the bill, Dart Container had pushed the City Council to consider the option of curbside recycling of PS. Dart offered to pay for sorting equipment at New York City material recovery facilities, and the material would be taken to a facility by rail to be washed and sold. Dart said Plastic Recycling Inc. would pay $160 a ton for the material in a contract already worked out for five years.

Previously, the measure would have outlawed food service companies from handing out PS as to-go containers starting July 1, 2015. Under the amendment, the recycling system has one year to prove itself.

The city and its recycling partner, Sims Metal Management, will decide if the program is successful.

“While it is clear that this legislation singles out and unfairly maligns a quality, cost-effective, and safe line of products, we are suspending further opposition as we believe it is in the best interests of all parties that we turn our attention to successfully passing the recycling test,” said Michael Westerfield, Dart Container’s director of recycling, in a statement.

The foam materials must be recycled in a “manner that is environmentally effective, economically feasible and safe for employees,” according to the amended bill. If the recycling effort fails, a ban on PS will go into effect.

“A successful polystyrene foam recycling program in NYC will only add to the environmental, performance and cost advantages that foam has over competing food-service materials and make it one of the most recyclable food-service containers in NYC,” Westerfield said in the statement.

The full City Council is expected to take up the measure on Dec. 19.