CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Approaching the new year, some local businesses are bracing for the impact of the upcoming statewide ban on styrofoam.
The ban, which applies to the sale and distribution of polystyrene products, will take effect on January 1st. Come the first of the year, a popular material for take-out food will become a thing of the past in New York State. But, some local businesses are concerned about availability.
“There’s only very few alternatives, and those are scarce as it is,” said Frank Scavio, owner of Paesan’s Pizza.
Scavio says issues with the global supply chain are already making it difficult to find certain containers, something he fears could be exacerbated in the aftermath of the ban, “I’m worried about can I get containers? I had to scramble this past week and it’s the last thing I want to be worrying about right now,” he said, hoping the state considers delaying the restriction until supply chain issues ease.
But while there are concerns over getting products in, New York State Restaurant Association Director Dominick Purnomo hopes the new ban won’t have any impact.
“Hopefully people have had plenty of time to prepare, hopefully order ahead, change any processes that, if they are still using styrofoam, they can find ways around it,” he said.
He’s encouraging owners who still use styrofoam to prepare to transition to more expensive alternatives, “Styrofoam comes at a very low cost to the consumer, but a higher cost to the environment. Hopefully, people work out a way to build these things into their operating cost and into the prices they’re charging.”
New York’s polystyrene foam ban was adopted in 2020, restricting the sale and distribution of single-use foam food and beverage containers and packing materials, effective January 1, 2022.
In a statement, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said:
“New York’s proposed regulations to implement a ban on polystyrene foam containers and packing material creates enormous long-term benefits for the environment by helping to reduce litter, clean up the recycling stream, prevent macro/microplastic pollution, and bolster the ongoing transition to more sustainable alternatives. DEC is currently reviewing the public comments received on the draft regulations.”NYSDEC Commissioner Basil Seggos
The DEC says its primary focus will be education and outreach to connect with those who will be impacted, helping them get acclimated with the requirements. This includes the opportunity for certain entities to request a financial hardship waiver.
The agency will also create a system for individuals to file complaints, which the DEC will investigate.
Those found to be in noncompliance with the new law once it takes effect will be given a civil penalty for non-compliance. Penalties include up to $250 for the first violation, up to $500 for a second and up to $1000 for the third, and each subsequent violation over the course of the calendar year. The DEC says these fines will be collected and paid into the Environmental Protection Fund.