Southern Brooklyn

Protesters Aren’t Happy About Impending Styrofoam Ban

Source: BrokenSphere via WIkimedia Commons
Source: BrokenSphere via WIkimedia Commons

In many ways, the battle between the march of commerce and the effort to protect the environment is one of the defining conflicts of our time. The inconvenient facts that environmentalists and scientists bring up over pollution’s effect on the Earth’s health often affect the bottom lines of businesses both large and small, leading to intense political battles. A smaller example of this conflict is the city’s proposed plan to ban styrofoam from stores and restaurants. AMNY is reporting that protesters representing small businesses across the city gathered at City Hall to fight the proposed measure.

Styrofoam is soft, lightweight, durable and most importantly cheap, making it extremely useful for storing hot liquids and food. The substance is also highly detrimental to the environment. Restaurant workers like Rosemary Nunez aren’t concerned with environmental issues but the economic impact the ban would have on businesses.

“This is just another example of the administration trampling on the interests of the people who create jobs in this city,” AMNY reported Nunez saying.

The plan to ban styrofoam is supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilman Lew Fidler, however it is not known when the Council will vote on the measure.

Comment policy


  1. I’m 100% ok with this ban. Many places I order from use plastic tupperware containers that cost about 15c a piece. Even if that means my food costs another 25c thats fine because I’m getting a reusable bit of microwaveable tupper ware. It’s the best way to recycle.

    Its safer, healthier, creates less garbage, and is better all around. There is no reason not to switch.

  2. are you saying that I no longer will have to step over them on Emmons Ave and will not get to enjoy the beautiful site of them floating away in the Bay? are you saying they will not end up destructing some reef thousands of miles away? OMG! What the world is coming to?

  3. I am the sponsor of this bill—yes, you read it right, at the request of the Mayor. The elimination of polystyrene is not only good for the environment, it will save taxpayers about $10 million a year. Foam is also the single worst part of street litter. Despite absurd claims to the contrary, no jobs will be lost. In fact, since the recycling pant for plastics is in Brooklyn, we may see a boost in jobs over there.
    I do not always work with the Mayor, but when he is right, I am all in.
    Lew from Brooklyn

  4. Could you please outlaw plastic bags as well? I don’t see any reason why people cannot shop with IKEA or Trader Joe’s re-usable bags.

  5. The problem with Styrofoam and all petroleum based plastics is
    that no animal on earth eats the stuff. When it “breaks down” into molecules
    that you cannot see, it is still there! It becomes a find powder floating in
    the ocean and air. It is taken up in the food chain inadvertently and yes,
    eventually you will be eating food with a high percentage of plastic. We will
    have come full circle in that you will not need plastic bags or packaging for
    our food, it will have a natural skin of plastic.

  6. This is a win win all around.

    Lew, I have a question. There are many, many trees in Marine Park that are overgrowing people’s homes. I have submitted two service requests to the parks dept via 311 – the first one was ignored, the second resulted in a “don’t bother us for the next 90 days” response. I’m about to call 311 for a third time to try to get them to come and trim the city tree in front of my house. The Parks people prune trees on a 7 year cycle. Is Marine Park on the schedule for this year? If not, how can a homeowner expedite matters?



  7. so your saying you wont be walking out of perrys diner anymore with your massive amounts of take home food in these styrofoam containers?? hypocrisy at its best. do you politicians decide what to throw your weight behind (no pun intended) based on whos the highest bidder to your coffers?

  8. As long as everyone is okay with the inevitable rise in prices, it’s okay with me. But don’t come back here with hypocritical complaining that Tony on Sheepshead Bay Road had to increase his price 50 cents. You cannot have it all, have it for free, and complain about, you spoiled citizens you.

  9. 1. nothing is free
    2. a responsible citizen like myself will not mind paying more if that means saving resources and the planet along the way

  10. Reusable and/or biodegradable container – $0.50
    Not having to walk through/swim with garbage – priceless

  11. please call my districtoffice. They will do their best to help you.
    Lew from Brooklym

  12. Well, thank you for contributing the intelligent dialogue on this issue.
    First, yeah, I am overweight. (Duh.)
    Second, my family and I frequently dine at Perry’s. (good diner, nice people, local merchant.)
    Third, you are a boldfaced liar if you claim you have ever seen me carry food out of the diner. I never take my leftovers and on the rare (once a year) when I order out, the food comes in a metal tin (recyclable) with a plastic top.
    Fourth, my campaign finance records are on line for all to see. I have NEVER taken a contribution from anyone remotely involved in this question. Feel free to check it for yourself.
    Fifth, I hope you are not one of the very many people that happily greets me at Perry’s when I am there and feels free to discuss their concerns with me as I ALWAYS indulge. That would make your anonymous post here hypocritical.
    Sixth, you are clearly a horse’s ass. (I apologize to horses everywhere.)
    Thank you for elevating the discussion with your venomous drivel. Sheepshead Bites is clearly the better for it.
    Lew from Brooklyn

  13. Tony,
    The increased cost for a lined recyclable paper cup for coffee over a Styrofoam cup is a penny or less. Any merchant who claims he needs to raise a price by 50 cents because of this is just not telling it like it is.
    Lew from Brooklyn

  14. coffee cups are only one example. substituting for the styrofoam food containers will cost considerably more for us merchants.

  15. Stryrofoam is garbage, it’s made for short term use. It is economically non-viable.

    We need to establish a culture where people supply, to whatever extent it is practice, their own carrying receptacle. And do so without thinking much about it.

  16. I need some recycling pants. 😉

    But, seriously, Lew, isn’t there another financial benefit to this? It’ll save $10 million a year, I’m assuming from the cost of collecting, sorting, transporting and storing styrofoam waste. But isn’t there a revenue incentive too? The increased amount of recyclable materials in the waste process means bucks for the city, since we make money off of our recycling – no? Or is that included in your $10 million a year? If not, is there an estimate on the additional revenue?

    If possible, couldn’t the city earmark those funds to, say property tax relief for commercial properties (though I guess tha helps landlords more than it helps business owners, considering many/most rent)? Or committing it to, say, the DEP to offset increases in water rates (that OTHER tax that no one calls a tax)? Seems like we could put the $0.50 or $0.02 or whatever in increased costs to merchants and customers right back into their own hands. Any chance of tacking that onto the bill or introducing one similar to it?

    Anyway, try to refrain from calling any of our readers a horse’s ass. They may be one, but since they read this site, they’re among the best horses’ ass (horse asses? horse’s asses?) in the world.

  17. Actually very true but the true financial analysis is very complicated to post or explain on a blog. It does total about $10 million a year and will allow us to move to the important task of enabling the recycling of organic waste, something no city has done without banning foam first.
    Lew from Brooklyn

  18. Not really. A plate is also a penny. Containers only slightly more.
    Lew from Brooklyn


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