DeBlasio Bans Foam Food Containers In New York City

After foam lobbyists failed to prove that their products were recyclable, Mayor DeBlasio has decided to ban plastic foam containers from New York City, reports The New York Times. He will announce his plan later today.

This ban will include the styrofoam containers one typically gets at halal food carts and Chinese takeout restaurants, along with the foam cups used commonly for coffee. The sale of packing peanuts will be prohibited within the city, too, but peanut-packed parcels can still be shipped to New Yorkers from elsewhere.

Ever since Mayor Bloomberg proposed it in his last State of the City address two years ago, the change has been in the works. In December 2013, the City Council passed a measure that gave foam container manufacturers from Dart Container Corporation and the American Chemical Council a year to prove that the material could be successfully recycled. And though they fought valiantly, they ultimately failed.

The ban will go into effect July 1, at which time all vendors are expected to stop using styrofoam. However, the city won't actually start enforcing the law for a whole year, until January of 2016. And even then, nonprofits and businesses with less than $500,000 in annual revenue can apply for exemptions.

So street vendors and restaurant owners have a nice amount of time and wiggle room to get into the groove of things — the move isn't quite as drastic as Bloomberg's proposed soda ban. But it is progress. And we're hopeful that, eventually, the gray streets of New York City will be a little bit greener for it.

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