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Mayor DeBlasio Drops the Hammer on Foam Takeout Containers

After foam lobbyists failed to prove it was recyclable, Mayor DeBlasio will ban plastic foam containers from NYC today.

Sometime later today, Mayor Bill DeBlasio is expected to enact a ban on plastic foam takeout containers. It's a move that's been stewing for the past two years, ever since Mayor Bloomberg proposed it in his last State of the City address. The reasons for the ban are straightforward: It leads to a lot of garbage that doesn't degrade, and isn't recyclable.

Pro-foam lobbyists from industry heavyweight Dart Container Corporation and from the American Chemical Council have fought valiantly to prove that's not true, and were even given a year to demonstrate to the sanitation commissioner that used foam could be cleaned and recycled. But now that time is up, and city officials yesterday announced that they've determined foam really can't be recycled.

So what does this mean for NYC restaurants? The ban will go into effect July 1, at which time all vendors are expected to stop using styrofoam. But the city won't actually start enforcing the law for a whole year, until January of 2016. And even then, businesses that make less than $500,000 in revenue can apply for exemptions. So it's not quite the calamity for restaurants that the soda ban would have been, but still, a lot of restaurants will have to spend the next few months unloading their clamshell boxes.