Saturday, January 5, 2019

Largest City in USA, New York Bans Styrofoam

Shantel Harris -
N e w   Y o r k ,   U S A - 

Mayor de Blasio Marks First Day of
New York City’s Styrofoam Ban
NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio, Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, and Mayor’s Office of Sustainability Director Mark Chambers announced today that the City’s styrofoam ban is in effect, eliminating a major source of petroleum based waste.

From now, food service establishments, stores, and manufacturers may not possess, sell, or offer for use single service Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam food service articles or loose fill packaging, such as “packing peanuts.”

“Global warming is threatening our city, and to fight it, we have to change the way we live," said Mayor de Blasio. “The 60 million pounds of styrofoam New Yorkers throw away each year clog our landfills and fuel the petroleum economy destroying our planet. We’re ending this dirty practice so we can ensure a cleaner, fairer future for our children."

“Foam products cannot be recycled, plain and simple, and they have no place in our daily lives,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “Foam is a source of litter in our neighborhoods, and it clogs our storm drains and pollutes our beaches. We cannot achieve zero waste without addressing the single-use products ubiquitous in modern life. This is our first step. We have fought for four years to ban these products in favor of reusable, recyclable and compostable alternatives. Today, I am proud to say today that we have prevailed and are moving toward a foam-free NYC."

In 1941, Dow Chemical invented a mass
production Styrofoam process
As a result of the ban, manufacturers and stores may not sell or offer single-use foam items such as cups, plates, trays, or clamshell containers. There is a six month grace period from when the ban goes into effect from January 1, 2019 before fines can be imposed. DSNY, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Department of Consumer Affairs will continue to conduct outreach and education in multiple languages to businesses throughout all five boroughs. During the six-month warning period, businesses that still use foam products may receive a “warning card” reminding them of the ban and directing them to DSNY outreach resources.

“This long-overdue ban will put an end to Styrofoam littering our streets and clogging our waterways," said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “Now we must build on this progress by cutting out other wasteful, outdated products like single-use plastic bags and plastic straws."

New Yorkers throw away 60 million pounds of foam products each year. To help educate businesses about the new law, the Department of Sanitation has already contacted over 129,000 retailers and food service establishments. DSNY is also coordinating with elected officials, community boards, business improvement districts, business organizations and other stakeholders to ensure New Yorkers understand how to comply with this law. The Department’s Commercial Outreach team provides free in-person trainings and online webinars to businesses and will be conducting site visits around the city during the six-month warning period. Businesses can request to host a training or sign-up for a scheduled one by visiting

Non-profits and small businesses with less than $500,000 in revenue per year may apply for hardship exemptions from the Department of Small Business Services if they can prove that the purchase of alternative products not composed of EPS would create undue financial hardship. Waivers granted will be valid for a one-year period beginning July 1, 2019 and on a rolling basis.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our city's economy - and DCA is committed to helping them thrive," said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “We are proud to partner with our fellow city agencies and play a role in ensuring zero waste to landfills by 2030 while also making sure businesses are not only aware of, but are operating under the law."

Under the de Blasio administration, New York City has become a global leader on climate change and sustainability. In 2014, Mayor de Blasio committed to reducing New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. In 2017, the Administration doubled down on its commitment to sustainability by delivering the first-ever city plan to align with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting warming to the global 1.5° Celsius target. To protect New Yorkers, the City is also moving forward with a $20 billion resiliency program designed to ensure that our neighborhoods, economy, and public services will be ready to withstand and emerge stronger from the impacts of climate change.

The City is also holding polluters to account by suing the five largest investor-owned fossil fuel companies who have contributed the most to climate change and is standing up for future generations and New York City pension holders by being the first major city in the nation to commit to divesting pension funds from fossil fuels. Building on this commitment, Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and City pension trustees recently announced a goal of doubling New York City’s pension fund investments in climate solutions to $4 billion by 2021. In 2018, the City also launched “Bring It,” a sustainability campaign focused on empowering young New Yorkers to reduce waste and create a cleaner, fairer city.


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