New York mayor wants to ban plastic foam containers

Polystyrene

NEW YORK (CNN) – Mayor Michael Bloomberg, known throughout New York City for enforcing strict regulations on things such as large sodas and smoking in Central Park, proposed a new target during his final State of the City speech Thursday: plastic foam containers.

“Styrofoam increases the cost of recycling by as much as $20 per ton because it has to be removed,” the mayor said. “Something we know is environmentally destructive, that is costing tax payers money, and that is easily replaceable, I think, is something we can do without.”

Specifically, the ban will target certain polystyrene foam products, not necessarily Styrofoam, a trademarked product of Dow Chemical Co. used in foam insulation and construction products.

“With Speaker (Christine) Quinn and the City Council, we’ll work to adopt a law banning Styrofoam food packaging from our stores and restaurants,” Bloomberg added. “And don’t worry, the doggy bag and the coffee cup will survive just fine.”

It was not immediately clear how the majority of businesses that use polystyrene foam products would react to a ban.

Plastic foam product limitations have already been ordered in several other cities, including Seattle and Brookline, Massachusetts.

Throughout his tenure, Bloomberg has gained a reputation for bold and sometimes controversial initiatives.

Despite public outcry, he pushed to regulate trans-fat in food preparation in 2007, signed into law a ban on smoking in most public spaces in 2011, and this March, prohibited sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces in certain venues.

“Now we are working on obesity and hopefully the courts won’t stop us,” Bloomberg said of his health policy efforts during a January press conference, “These small public health things that we do really make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

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