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Cuomo wants to ban Styrofoam food containers, packing peanuts

Cuomo wants to ban Styrofoam food containers, packing peanuts

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First it was plastic, disposable grocery bags. Now the governor is targeting Styrofoam take-out containers and foam packing peanuts.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday that he will reveal in his State of the State address next month a plan to ban single-use Styrofoam food containers and packing peanuts.

The ban would go into effect in by Jan. 1, 2022, but at least one environmental group wants the governor to move faster.

“Every single-use polystyrene food container and every plastic packing peanut is a scourge that lasts hundreds of years — threatening our health as they persist in our environment. The Governor’s proposal to ban these items in 2022 is a welcome move, but we feel that New York can make progress happen a bit faster and call on this ban to be in effect for 2021, one year earlier,” said Kate Jurera, deputy director of Environmental Advocates of New York.

Except for the timing, Cuomo appears to agree with the group.

“Styrofoam is one of the most common pollutants and a public health hazard that impacts humans and the environment alike,” he said in a statement. “From take-out containers to packing peanuts, this material is everywhere and it will continue to pollute our waters and harm our wildlife for generations to come if we do not act. With this proposal, we can build on our nation-leading initiatives to protect the environment and move New York another step closer to a greener, more sustainable future.”

The legislation Cuomo proposes would:

  • Ban distribution and use of expanded polystyrene foam containers for prepared foods or beverages served by food service establishments, including restaurants, caterers, food trucks, retail food stores, delis and grocery stores.
  • Ban sale of polystyrene loose-fill packaging, commonly known as packing peanuts.
  • Authorize the NY Department of Environmental Conservation to limit or ban other packaging materials found to have environmental impacts.

Styrofoam would still be allowed in certain food packaging applications, such as under a raw piece of meat or fish or to contain eggs.

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