The administration of New York City mayor Bill De Blasio announced today that styrofoam will be banned in the city starting in July this year, in an attempt to “green up” the city. The decision comes after the Department of Sanitation that Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) announced that styrofoam is non-recyclable.
Styrofoam is actually a trademarked brand of closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam currently made for thermal insulation and craft applications. It is owned and manufactured by The Dow Chemical Company. However, colloquially, in the US, styrofoam is used to name any expanded (not extruded) polystyrene foam, such as disposable coffee cups, coolers, or cushioning material in packaging, which is typically white and is made of expanded polystyrene beads.
The ban means that now the material won’t be used at all within the city – so you can say goodbye to the traditional coffee cups, food containers, and packing materials as well as insulation. Mayor De Blasio is optimistic about the ban’s environmental impact and the law is expected to keep some 30,000 tons of EPS waste out of New York landfills and streets.
“These products cause real environmental harm and have no place in New York City. We have better options, better alternatives, and if more cities across the country follow our lead and institute similar bans, those alternatives will soon become more plentiful and will cost less,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “By removing nearly 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene waste from our landfills, streets and waterways, today’s announcement is a major step towards our goal of a greener, greater New York City.”
In 2013, a law was introduced to restrict the sale of single-use polystyrene containers. However, authorities still gave styrofoam a chance, as long as a method to recycle it would be deemed viable. This proved not to be the case, and at least in NYC, you can say goodbye to styrofoam!