UTICA - Polystyrene is a material most commonly called Styrofoam. It’s non-biodegradable and typically can’t be recycled, so it ends up in landfills.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing a ban on foam containers used for prepared foods and beverages. Changing over to a different material will cost more, but some businesses like Utica Roasting Company have already made the switch with minimal expense.
Aaron Nelsen is Utica Roasting Company's Café Manager. "I hope that the cost difference isn’t going to be so astronomical that everyone has to across the board raise their pricing substantially. At that point a surcharge on a takeout container doesn’t seem like the end of the world, but there are some people that might be a little frustrated by it."
It’s a different story down the street at Bella Regina, where the amount of Styrofoam products used is much greater. Manager Angela Piacentino is continuing to use polystyrene products to keep their prices from rising.
"It’s kind of hard for us to say, until we reach that point where we’re going to have to do that. I hope it doesn’t affect business. We’ll see what happens."
The ban also includes packaging materials often referred to as packing peanuts, and authorizes the State DEC to take additional action to limit or ban other packaging material upon a finding of environmental impact. Right now we have no details on what that ‘action’ is.
Bill Rabbia is the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority's General Manager. "The devil’s really in the details too... no one has really seen the actual legislative language and how they’re proposing the truly specific ban."
If the proposed legislation is passed, the ban will go into effect on January 1, 2022.