Is Now the Time For Bans Such as the Proposed One on Plastic Foam Products by NYC?

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is looking to ban foam plastic cups, but small business owners say it will hurt in a time they are still struggling from a depressed economy.

Whether it is large sodas or strict gun regulation, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is never slow about getting ahead of legislation that he thinks is best for his city. He is now looking to ban plastic-foam food packaging, something environmentalists have been calling on for years.

But is now the right time to make things any more difficult for businesses? 

According to The New York Times, the ban will include takeout boxes, cups and trays and that will force restaurants to restock. Public schools also would have to remove plastic-foam trays from their cafeterias. The move could reportedly save a waste stream of about 20,000 tons of plastic foam at $20 per ton in recycling costs.

But some small business owners are dreading what they call an “unfair burden” on small businesses, the New York Times reports. It is also likely to impact larger manufacturers too, such as Dow Chemicals. New York City is not the first city to consider such a ban. Others such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, have done it, but is now the right time to make it more difficult for businesses to recover from an already sluggish economy.

Do you think the government, local and otherwise, would better serve the people by slowing down on some of the regulations until the economy is a little more robust?

Racer X February 19, 2013 at 01:37 PM
I think the "harmful to business" argument is a little weak. There is a much better argument from the environmental perspective. If Styrofoam is outlawed in NY City, and vendors switched, say, to paper products two things would happen that are a negative for the environment: 1) 20,000 tons of Stryo-foam would equal about 50,000 tons of paper/cardboard. 2) Last time I checked, paper was made from trees. How many trees does it take to make 50,000 tons of paper? It really would be cool to get rid of Styrofoam but at what cost to paper? I think the real reason Bloomberg doesn't want Styrofoam is because he can't dump it in the Atlantic with everything else because it floats.
Good Grief Y'all February 19, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Racer, I am an even-tempered person. I take most things in stride, so I am not alarmed at all. It's a common sense perspective that isn't political. What does surprise me is that you would admit to agreeing with anything I write. I appreciate your saying so. Overloading plates is a marketing ploy. Restaurants want you to come back, so they give the illusion you are getting a lot for your money and are less focused on the actual price. Some places are fine with the sharing, and it is usually more than enough for two to share. Some restaurants penalize this practice by adding a surcharge for sharing. More fair establishments offer half-size entres but they don't give that much of a price differential. It is not cheap-skate to share. It is healthier, more economical and may encourage more dining out if it is not frowned upon. Thanks. There's a great seafood restaurant on Tybee Island that serves such a large portion on one entree that, not only is it plenty for two - there's enough left for two to share for lunch the next day. Prices are reasonable, too. I don't know how they make a profit, but they keep a wait with reservations on weekends.
Good Grief Y'all February 19, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Tipping extra to the server to compensate for serving two people one dinner is the decent way to approach this. That's a good point. Sharing one entree probably also makes the service go faster, seating more folks in a shorter time, making up for less from each table of diners.
Dr. Bill February 20, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Racer X: "1) 20,000 tons of Stryo-foam would equal about 50,000 tons of paper/cardboard. 2) Last time I checked, paper was made from trees. How many trees does it take to make 50,000 tons of paper? " Bingo! I forgot to add to my previous post that (DOW)Dart Container recycles polystyrene. It would be far better to recycle than use other materials that still go to landfill! Its not as profitable as other recycling commodities but when you consider the cost in terms of savings in the tonnage in landfills and raping the forests for yet more material... its worth it. Here is a link to more info: http://www.dart.biz/web/environ.nsf/pages/drop-off.html
Good Grief Y'all February 20, 2013 at 01:42 PM
I love trees. As the condition of the planet deteriorates there won't be as many trees even if they're not used for more paper production. Whether we use more plastic or more paper, there will be an environmental impact. The health of the planet should be the top priority.


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