New Yorkers, it's time to say goodbye to your squeaky Styrofoam food containers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's office announced this week that the city's Styrofoam ban would officially go into effect at the start of 2019. The news came after a lawsuit aiming to block the ban was dismissed. The law will make it illegal for food service businesses, manufacturers and stores operating in the five boroughs to “possess, sell or offer for use single-service Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam food service articles or loose fill packaging, such as 'packing peanuts,'” according to a press release issued by the mayor.
The ban follows a measure passed by the City Council in 2013 that required the city's Department of Sanitation commissioner to look into whether or not the material could be recycled in an environmentally friendly and economically feasible way. It was found that it cannot, and over the next six months, businesses in the city will be forced to find alternative packaging for their goods.
The city will provide purveyors of Styrofoam with a six-month grace period before slapping them with a fine for doling out the pollutive material. Nonprofits and small businesses will also be able to apply for an exemption from the rule, so long as they can prove that purchasing alternates to Styrofoam would cause them financial hardship.
The new foam ban is the latest in a wave of initiatives to make New York a little bit better at recycling. Last month, City Council member Rafael Espinal introduced a bill into the chamber that aims to ban plastic straws in food and drink establishments across New York City. It's still working its way through committee, but the Styrofoam ban being upheld gives the idea a little more firepower.