In his final State of the City address Thursday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a citywide ban on plastic-foam food packaging, a non-biodegradable polymer environmentalists have derided for years
As reported by The New York Times, the ban will include polystyrene takeout boxes, cups and trays.
“Something that we know is environmentally destructive, that is costing taxpayers money, and that is easily replaceable, is something we can do without," Bloomberg said.
In 2011, Southampton Village became the first municipality on New York State to ban plastic shopping bags, and the second on the East Coast.
Environmentalists then pushed for the Southampton Town Board to adopt the same ban, but a board majority decided to pursue awareness and recycling instead.
At that same time, Westhampton Beach pushed a plan to ban plastic bags off the table with Mayor Contrad Teller, saying, “If we passed it, it would really be a whistle in the dark."
A polystyrene packaging ban has not been brought to the table in either Southampton town or area villages, but Bloomberg's move shines a national spotlight on the product that is popularly, though erroneously, called Styrofoam.
Bloomberg said polystyrene, which does not biodegrade and is "virtually impossible" to recycle, currently adds up to $20 per ton to the cost of recycling, because it has to be seperated. Eliminating it altogether could save the city millions of dollars per year, city officials said.
Fort-Greene-Clinton Hill Patch reports that some small business owners disagree with the proposal, saying the costs to use alternative packaging will hurt profits.
Are you for or against banning plastic-foam packaging in your town or village? Tell us why in the comments section below.