| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Feb 13 New York City Mayor Michael
Bloomberg will propose a ban on Styrofoam, the substance
commonly used for take-out food containers that is almost
impossible to recycle.
The mayor who has already targeted fat, sugar and salt in
the city will turn to extruded polystyrene foam, saying it clogs
up landfills, does not biodegrade and might harm human health.
Bloomberg will raise the proposal in his final State of the
City speech on Thursday. The city provided reporters an advance
text of the speech on Wednesday.
Bloomberg, in his 12th year as mayor, has made public health
and sustainability hallmarks of his three terms in office, and
he has taken aim repeatedly at the fast-food industry - most
recently in his controversial plan to bar the sale of large
portions of sugary soda, which goes into effect next month.
Styrofoam, he says, should go the way of lead-based paint,
which the city banned from residential use in 1960. An estimated
20,000 tons of Styrofoam enter the city's waste stream each
year, and it can add an estimated $20 per ton to the cost of
recycling because it needs to be removed from the recycling
stream, the city said.
"After all, we can live without it. We may live longer
without it. And the doggie bag will survive just fine," the text
of Bloomberg's speech says.
Dow Chemical Co, which makes Styrofoam, did not
immediately respond to a request for comment. Similar bans have
been adopted in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and
The plan was likely to meet opposition from small
businesses, since alternatives to Styrofoam tend to cost between
two and five times as much.
"As this proposal moves forward, we hope that the concerns
of the small businesses it affects - like cost increases - will
factor in at least as heavily as environmental concerns," said
Andrew Moesel, a spokesman for the New York Restaurant
While Bloomberg's aggressive campaigns have won him plaudits
from some, others have dubbed him a "nanny" mayor and said his
ideas limit choice and pre-empt individual responsibility.
During his first term, he pushed through a ban on smoking in
bars and restaurants, which, despite an initially rocky
reception from New Yorkers, is now enormously popular and has
inspired similar bans in cities around the world.
Next up was a ban on trans fats, found in Little Italy
cannoli and fast-food french fries, and a dictate that fast-food
restaurants post calorie information in large type on menu
Last year, Bloomberg said restaurants and takeaway food
shops could no longer sell sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces
Sugar-sweetened drinks are a significant source of extra
calories in the U.S. diet and closely linked with weight gain,
which often accompanies serious and costly illnesses such as
diabetes and heart disease.
The soft drinks industry is challenging the ban, which is
due to begin in March, calling it an unconstitutional overreach
that burdens small businesses and infringes upon personal