Mayor Bloomberg Considers a Ban on Styrofoam

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Michael Bloomberg, New York City mayor, is considering a ban on Styrofoam cups and containers in an effort to clean up the city’s waste stream.

“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 the Sanitation Department, said.

Styrofoam has long been protested by environmentalist, as the material is nearly impossible to recycle. It is mainly popular among delis, restaurants and food vendors.

It is also costly to throw away.

On average, the city spends $86 per ton to send Styrofoam and other garbage to landfills every year. Recycling is cheaper, as it costs $10 a ton for paper and $14 a ton for glass and plastic. Plastic is thought to be the best alternative to Styrofoam.

Though the ban has not been confirmed, many will likely protest it. It will put a cost burden on small businesses, but in the long run, the ban will help the environment and reduce waste cost.

The administration has not said if it will continue considering the ban.

“It may or may not be a component of the overall plan,” Gonen said.

Bloomberg said Thursday recycling is the key to saving money and the environment.

“Landfills cost us a lot of money,” he said. “If we could recycle a lot of stuff, it would be much better for the environment and better for our bottom line. And we’re looking at a lot of things. One of the things you might want to do -- and a lot of other places have -- is ban things like Styrofoam that don’t degrade quickly in landfills.