On Tuesday, September, 22, 2015, the New York State Supreme Court overturned the citywide foam ban, striking down Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia’s decision in banning foam foodservice items. According to the ruling from Judge Margaret Chan, enough evidence clearly showed that expanded polystyrene (EPS) can be recycled in appropriate facilities and that there is a market for the product.
The Restaurant Action Alliance led the lawsuit along with numerous local restaurants in order to advocate the importance of recycling and the economic benefits foam foodservice products provide. In addition, Dart Container worked with the Alliance and restaurants and created a recycling plan for the City, which included paying any start-up expenses that would be incurred, ensuring that the material will generate revenue for New York City for years to come.
“Our offer to pay every dime of the start-up costs for recycling, and to ensure the City can sell its recycled product, stands,” said Michael Westerfield of Dart Container Corporation, and party to the legal case. “The victory here is for the environment and for recycling. We are eager to work with the City to get recycling started as soon as possible.”
Robert Jackson, former New York City Councilman and head of the Restaurant Action Alliance is also pleased with the court’s ruling stating, “The judge has ended the debate about polystyrene recycling…Now it’s time to capitalize on this development.”
Foam recycling continues to become commonplace around the country. Cities like Denver, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Yonkers already have locations to collect foam. In some of these communities there exist drop off facilities for residents to bring their polystyrene foam for recycling, while others already offer curbside recycling opportunities. New York has an opportunity to become the largest city recycling polystyrene.
The continuing push for foam #6 recycling continues, but for now recycling fans are gratified on the win in New York City. Discover the benefits of polystyrene recycling here, and learn how you can start a Foam #6 recycling program in your city.
To learn more about the New York State Supreme Court’s ruling, click here to read a press release from Dart Container Corporation.