A New York City councilman is developing legislation for a mandatory polystyrene recycling program in the wake of the courts' take down of a proposed foam ban earlier this month.
So far the bill it only in “skeleton form,” according to the staff of Councilman Fernando Cabrera (D-Bronx), but plans are to a city-wide comprehensive foam recycling program and creates an expected $9 million in additional revenue for New York City.
While the EPS ban backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio would have been extended only to certain types of foam, mostly in the form of take-out food containers, Cabrera's proposal would extend to all of its forms, from the heavy-duty materials used to packing appliances to down to coffee cups.
“The ban would have only taken 20 percent out of the landfills. Why not recycle 100 percent if you have the option?” said Cabrera spokeswoman Brittany Cesarini. “This plan just makes sense, economically and environmentally.”
The de Blasio administration intended to begin enacted the EPS ban July 1 after the city's sanitation department reported that there is no practical way to recycle the material and landfill costs are mounting. But the Restaurant Action Alliance , made up of ban opponents from the plastics and restaurant industries, sued to stop it and insisted the material can, in fact, be recycled. A judge struck down the ban with a September ruling. On Dec. 3, the New York State Supreme Court's Appellate Division denied the city's motion to appeal.
Rather than a ban, the plastics industry sought to help New York City get on the recycling track, with Dart Container Corp. offering a $23 million, 8-year investment in recycling equipment and a 5-year price guarantee of $160 per ton on all soft foam and rigid PS bales from Plastics Recycling Inc. in Indianapolis.
The companies say the offer still stands and Cabrera has been working with them for seven months as the bill has taken shape though “right now it's kind of a waiting game,” Cesarini said. The councilman is expecting a draft of the bill to be completed by the city in the next month, then hearings will be held where advocates and the public can weigh in before committee and council votes can happen.
The mayor's office did not comment by presstime as to weather or not de Blasio would support a recycling program, but if the bill has the backing of 34 city council members, it would be rendered veto-proof.