Better watch out, New Yorkers — you could be just standing on the corner, contemplating moving into a micro apartment, sipping a ginormous soda out of a styrofoam* container when KERBANG! Mayor Bloomberg’s gonna come up and smack that thing right outta your hand. Yes, we’re being dramatic. But after downsizing sugary drinks, Bloomberg’s next crusade could be banning styrofoam cups and containers used to hold food.
Bloomberg’s administration is mulling the idea of nixing styrofoam containers to cut down on waste and amp up its recycling program. Those kinds of containers are currently omnipresent on the food cart/deli scene.
“We’re studying all the different things in our waste stream. We want to make sure that everything in our waste stream is recyclable,” Ron Gonen, deputy commissioner for recycling at Sanitation, told the New York Post.
Right now the city has a goal of recycling 15% of its household trash, but last year Bloomie set a goal of 30% by 2017. That could be tricky to accomplish without ditching styrofoam. Which, as we all learned in grade school, is nigh on impossible to recycle.
“The [recycling] machinery wasn’t really built to handle Styrofoam,” explains Gonen. “If something is not recyclable, we want to find an alternative for that packaging or product.”
While environmentalists might be all in favor of such a ban, food businesses and restaurateurs are likely going to chafe a bit at the thought of the city regulating their business in yet another way. If the ban goes through, they’d likely be resistant to alternative packaging if it costs more than Styrofoam.
This makes sense in the larger scheme of Bloomberg’s collective healthification efforts. Calorie counts on menus, anti-smoking policies, downsizing sugary drinks — those were all pet projects of his that have come to fruition. But not without a lot of grumbling from some residents.
It’s kind of like NYC is Bloomberg’s world and we’re all just living in it, for better or for worse.
*NOTE: Our wise reader Adam reached out just to clarify that while styrofoam is used as a colloquial term for extruded polystyrene, Styrofoam is a blue trademarked material that is manufactured by DOW Chemical and is used in building insulation. As such, you cannot drink out of Styrofoam cups, even if they existed, which they don’t. But you can drink out of styrofoam — at least until/if Bloomberg bans it.
City considers ban on Styrofoam cups and containers [New York Post]