UPDATE: The New York State Supreme Court's Appellate Division has denied NYC's motion to appeal the overturn of a city-wide ban on Styrofoam food containers, causing the ban to be "likely dead," according to Environmental Leader.
Advocates of Styrofoam recycling are pleased about the decision due to the belief that it will create opportunity for foam recycling in NYC. However, Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia will now need to reconsider the city's foam policy.
"The Appellate Division’s decision to deny the city’s request further proves what we have been saying all along: foam products can and should be recycled in New York City," said Michael Westerfield, corporate director of recycling programs at Dart Container, in a press release. "By allowing foam recycling to move forward, the city will save hundreds of jobs and bring in millions of dollars in savings, while doing what’s best for the environment."
- New York City has appealed a Supreme Court decision to stop a ban on expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) food containers.
- In September, the court had decided that the Sanitation Commission failed to show the containers could not be economically recycled. But the Commission stands by its argument that the containers cannot be recycled and would generate 30,000 tons of waste, taxing landfills, streets, and waterways.
- The plastic-foam industry has proposed a program that it argues can effectively recycle while generating revenue for the city. Manufacturer Dart Container Corp. offered to purchase equipment for the city to get the program started.
The debate on expanded polystyrene is ongoing, fueled by stakeholders on either side: city officials with environmental concerns versus a product manufacturer and businesses that use them.
"We disagree with the ruling, and we are asking a higher court to review the decision regarding the ban on expanded polystyrene," said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, commenting that the products cause "real environmental harm."
But the plastic foam industry claims their products could be collected and recycled, separated, washed, and melted into reusable pellets.
Restaurants and businesses petitioned the city's Styrofoam ban, saying that it would cost too much to buy other packaging. Dart Container and The Restaurant Action Alliance actually sued the city, with alliance leader Robert Jackson arguing the material was 100% recyclable. Dart says that recyclers across the country are paying for used foam containers. But city officials claim that Dart does not have long-term relationships in place to sustain a recycling program.