NYC resurrects ban on foam containers

- It's back. Another Styrofoam ban in the city.

The New York City Council first banned foam takeout containers in 2013. The law went into effect in 2015 but was quickly overturned after a group that included a restaurant trade organization and a major foam manufacturer sued the city.

The city's Department of Sanitation has issued a second report maintaining that Styrofoam and other foodservice foams are not recyclable and wants it banned again.

Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia told Fox 5 that New York City wants to be at the forefront of the environmental movement. She said Styrofoam tends to fall apart easily, pollutes waterways, and is not recyclable.

Critics of the ban argue that Styrofoam is recyclable. The Dart Container Company in Michigan maintains that New York doesn't need to ban Styrofoam, it needs to recycle it.

But Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said the definition of a recyclable material is that it is reused in a new product. She said no large city has a successful recycling program for container foam so it ends up in a landfill.

Critics say that small businesses and minority-owned businesses would be the most adversely affected by the ban. The city said it is addressing that concern. The Sanitation Department's measure would allow nonprofits and non-chain restaurants with gross incomes under $500,000 to apply for financial hardship waivers, which would allow them to continue using foam containers.

But Akisha Freeman of the Restaurant Action Alliance NYC said the waiver isn't enough.

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