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Posts Tagged ‘plastic foam’

I have been a recycling volunteer for GrowNYC since 2009, so I am pretty well versed what can and cannot be recycled in NYC. Throughout these years of educating New Yorkers on how to recycle, I’ve realized that there is a huge misconception of what types of plastic can be recycled. I’ll say it one more time, people – The only plastics that can be recycled in NYC are BOTTLES and JUGS! Yogurt cups and plastic food containers ARE NOT recyclable in NYC. And neither are those plastic foam containers you see in delis and take out places. I always cringe when I have to use them, because they are not biodegradable. Yup, that means they will stay in our landfills FOREVER!

But, as I learned from this NYTimes article today, Mayor Bloomberg will be proposing a citywide ban on plastic-foam food packaging during his State of the City address this coming Thursday. The ban will require approval by the City Council, but his proposal does have some traction among voters. Quoted from the article,

Officials at City Hall said a plastic-foam ban could save millions of dollars a year. Plastic foam, which is not biodegradable, can add up to $20 per ton in recycling costs when the city processes recyclable materials. The city handles about 1.2 million tons of food waste each year; the mayor’s office estimated that the city’s annual waste stream included about 20,000 tons of plastic foam.

Saving $400,000 a year is a good chunk of change for city. Now, I know not everyone will agree with Bloomberg’s proposal. Plastic foam containers are cheap, so restaurant costs may go up. Habits will have to be changed.

I may not agree with Bloomberg on his soda ban, but I do endorse his plastic foam container ban. I think that this is just something restaurants will have to get used to. A few years back, restaurants had to innovate when trans-fats were banned. And we’ve all gotten used to that. And now, they may have to restock their supplies, but this is just another opportunity to innovate. If Whole Foods can do it, so can other restaurants. As for most consumers, I don’t think they’ll notice the difference between a paper container and a plastic container. But the environment will thank us for it!

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