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NYC Restaurant Owners Voice Opposition to Foam Foodservice Ban

Concerned restaurateurs and citizens fill City Hall to object to a proposal that they maintain would raise costs and increase waste.
November 26, 2013

​NEW YORK — New York City restaurant owners, business leaders, and local residents voiced their strong opposition yesterday at City Hall against a bill that seeks to ban the sale of polystyrene foam foodservice products.

The Bloomberg Administration introduced the bill earlier this year, which has since faced objections from the American Chemistry Council, businesses, unions, community leaders and taxpayers.

"This bill will have serious implications not only for New York City small businesses, but upstate New York manufacturers," said Mike Durant, New York State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business. "Product bans imposed absent solid scientific backing like this are threatening the viability of small businesses within the City and across New York. The very fact that New York City is looking to threaten thousands of jobs and small businesses is alarming."

Business owners complained about the potential for increased costs if the Council proceeds with the ban.

"Polystyrene foam is the best option for my business because it keeps my food fresh and at the same time, it allows me to charge a fair price," said Jimmy Moncion, owner of Nelson Paella Restaurant in Brooklyn. "The cheapest alternative is much more expensive than polystyrene foam — plus, they don't work as well for my customers. If this ban goes through, it will mean cutting workers so that I can keep my doors open."

According to a recent study, for every $1.00 now spent on polystyrene foam products, businesses would have to spend nearly $2.00 on the alternatives, which often do not insulate food as well as foam.

A ban on polystyrene would impact upstate manufacturing companies, increase costs for restaurants and foodservice establishments, and ultimately impact the consumer, said Assembly Leader Brian Kolb. "I have continued to urge Mayor Bloomberg to consider alternative measures, including instituting a recycling program to help preserve jobs in our communities and rein in the cost of doing business."