Last month, New York City’s ban on plastic foam cups, plates and packing material went into effect. While fines for violating the ban will not be issued until next year, many businesses and organizations are still trying to find a workable alternative to single-use, foam containers they use to sell coffee, food, and other goods.
There is good news for non-profits and businesses that make less than $500,000 a year, as they could potentially qualify for an exemption based on financial hardship. For others, however, the environmental advantages may be clear, but what about practical, everyday solutions for doing business? While some have managed to switch over to compostable alternatives, what will happen to those establishments that haven’t yet nailed down other options?
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“The law allows businesses a six month grace period from when the law goes into effect – January 1, 2016 – before fines can be imposed. DSNY, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Consumer Affairs will conduct outreach and education in multiple languages to businesses throughout all five boroughs during this period. For the first year of the ban, businesses will be given a warning in lieu of a fine.”
New York City is not the first to ban this material. They now join San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Seattle, Washington DC and 65 other cities throughout the U.S. that have banned EPS. While it may not be good news for foam container suppliers, it opens the door to manufacturers that can produce an economical, practical and sustainable takeout container.