NYC to ban foam take-out trays, cups

Following Mayor Bloomberg’s lead, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio bans Styrofoam take-out trays and coffee cups, along with packing peanuts used in shipping, on the grounds that they can’t be recycled [Eater NYC, city press release, earlier here and here]

5 Comments

  • Foam cups and trays are recyclable.

    Did you know that your foam trash can be turned into picture frames and surfboards? Recycled foam #6 is used to make a variety of everyday items, and recycling it is easy – once the foam products are collected, they are compacted into dense bricks and then converted into pellets that can be used to make new products.
    [ … ]
    Dart’s CARE program provides users with foam cup recycling collection devices. In order to make foam recycling cost-effective there are two key requirements:

    Separation of foam products from other non-foam products.

    Maximum consolidation of the collected foam cup products into the least amount of space.

    The foam collected is then sent to the CARE program’s densifier. The densifier can compress 8,000 eight-ounce foam cups into a cylinder 15” tall and 15” diameter.

    http://www.foamfacts.com/

  • And by what authority does the mayor claim the right to regulate the material of take out trays and cups? Pray tell good people where the people surrendered this to the Government. (PS – the same goes for all these nanny state intrusions. Absent a clear delegation of authority, I just don’t see it. These foam trays aren’t toxic or dangerous to the users, they’re no different than any other trash – e.g. aren’t hazardous waste, so WHY again do they get special attention?)

  • What does the ban on packing peanuts entail? Is it just the sale of packing peanuts in the city or do shippers have to somehow be certain they don’t use packing peanuts when shipping anything into the city? How is that enforceable? What about people bringing in styrofoam cups and carry out trays from outside the city? Don’t a lot of people bring in their Dunkin Donuts cups on the train from New Jersey or New Rochelle or Connecticut?

  • Plastic foam can be recycled, it is just too light per cubic yard and thus costs too much to transport (picture a big tractor -trailer, or worse, a railroad car loaded with this light-weight substance) to make it worth the trouble. I suppose you could compress it at the point of generation, like a garbage truck does in the street with its hydraulic ram, but that would limit the quantity to large producers of foam waste. None come to mind at the moment.
    Also, one of the most difficult problems you face in a big recycling program (I’m thinking government) is sorting the residential waste stream. Unless you get a significant amount of a fairly valuable item, e.g. aluminum cans, you will spend vastly more separating that item out and handling it than you could possibly make selling it. I suppose DeBlasio could order that the foam be recycled, but he would face a real cost problem because of the above.
    Much easier just to ban it. The environmental lobby doesn’t like the stuff anyway, and claims foam does bad things to the atmosphere when incinerated.

  • […] NYC and other jurisdictions, MoCo bans plastic foam containers and peanuts [Bill Turque, Washington […]