New York City is finding itself in a civil war over expanded polystyrene food service packaging.
A proposed law to recognize EPS as recyclable has been introduced before City Council just as Mayor Bill de Blasio again moves against the plastic packaging.
The mayor and city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia have been on what is now a years-long push to outlaw EPS from food service use in the city. Simply put, attempting to recycle foodservice EPS is folly, they believe.
The bill, called Intro 1480-2017, is pushing back against that view, and 22 of the city's 51 City Council members have signed on as sponsors. The primary sponsor is Fernando Cabrera, a pastor who represents a district in the Bronx.
The bill flies in the face of a recent report by the Department of Sanitation. "For 30 years, attempts to recycle food-service foam — both subsidized and non-subsidized attempts — have failed at each step of the recycling process. The municipalities and programs that DSNY researched tell a very clear story: food-service foam is not capable of being recycled in an environmentally effective or an economically feasible manner," the report states.
But Michael Westerfield, corporate director of recycling programs at Dart Container Corp., recently said the report's view that food service EPS is unrecyclable is "a baffling declaration."