City wants plastic foam banned

By Tom Momberg

The city Law Department has filed a motion with the State Supreme Court to appeal a Manhattan judge’s September ruling striking down former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on polystyrene container use in the restaurant industry.

The ban on plastic foam, also known by the brand name Styrofoam, went into effect in July for city businesses that use the products to hold food and beverages. A grace period was in effect giving businesses until Jan. 1, 2016 to comply.

But many small businesses and even major companies like Dunkin’ Donuts had already started the switch to more costly food and beverage container alternatives in New York.

When Manhattan Judge Margaret Chan overturned the law, which was passed by City Council in early summer, she was acknowledging a challenge brought up against the law by a group of restaurants, recycling advocates and manufactures that argued the city never gave them a fair chance to prove the material could be recycled.

Dart Container Director of Recycling Michael Westerfield, who helped lead the recycling argument, started a pilot recycling program in the city last year.

He, along with the lawyer for the group of foam advocates, Randy Mastro, said recycling polystyrene has come a long way and the company would like to work with the city to start implementing a program.

The Law Department has called Chan’s ruling arbitrary and capricious. The agency said the environmental benefits and protections intended by the Council when it passed the ban need to be considered by the court in its appeals process.

Tom Momberg

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