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NYC City Council debates ban on plastic-foam takeout containers

Plastic-foam containersNew York City Major Michael Bloomberg is claiming one more casualty before he officially ends his reign as overreaching “Nanny,” with the City Council debating a ban on plastic-foam takeout containers.

The City Council’s sanitation committee is gearing up for a hearing on the future of the takeout containers set to take place Monday, The Associated Press reported. Members of the board are contemplating proposals to either ban the containers outright or explore options to recycle them.

“One product that is virtually impossible to recycle and never bio degrades is Syrofoam,” Bloomberg said in his State of the City speech in February“Something that we know is environmentally destructive and that may be hazardous to our health that is costing taxpayers money and that we can easily do without and is something that should go the way of lead paint.”

A potential ban on such containers could have a substantial effect on take-out lovers throughout New York City. Many street vendors and restaurants use the lightweight containers because of their ability to keep food warm, and uses of the takeout containers go beyond just traditional to-go cartons. Many vendors use plastic foam cups and plates, too.

The foam containers, though, take a long time to break down in landfills, and New Yorkers dispose of roughly 23,000 tons of foam per year.

Bloomberg first proposed a plastic-foam ban in February. But owners of eateries citywide argue alternatives to plastic foam are more costly and don’t insulate food as well. Additionally, The Associated Press reported, business groups and foam-ban proponents disagree on whether recycling the material is even a possibility.

Though New York City could be the first on the East Coast to ban plastic-foam containers, such limitations exist in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.

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