New York State's ban on polystyrene takes effect soon, here's what you need to know. In an effort to help the environment, New York banned the use of polystyrene, which is commonly used in the containers for carryout and to-go food and beverage orders. The ban also covers polystyrene packing materials, which are often called packing peanuts, according to the state's Department of Environmental Conservation.
New York cites litter as one of the main reasons behind the ban, as people oftentimes don't properly dispose of their to-go containers, especially cups. This litter negatively affects the natural resources and wildlife in New York. Packing peanuts are not accepted in most recycling programs across the state because they are hard to recycle.
The Society of Environmental Journalists says that it takes approximately 500 years for polystyrene to break down in a landfill, meaning that to-go cup you threw away will outlive you and five to six generations of your family!
The SEJ also note that styrofoam is not good for sea creatures. It's also not that great for you because could potentially leach into your system,
A 1986 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study found styrene residues, however infinitesimal, in 100 percent of the human fat tissue samples taken. Styrene toxicity may be much greater for people exposed occupationally or via air pollution.
Here's what you should know about New York's polystyrene ban:
- It goes into effect on January 1, 2022
- The ban does NOT apply to meat sold in stores to be purchased and cooked elsewhere by consumers
- The ban does NOT apply to food sealed in a polystyrene container prior to being received at a covered food service provider
- Foodservice providers can apply for a hardship waiver
- The ban is in effect at covered food service provides - such as delis, coffee shops, grocery stores, schools, restaurants, nursing homes, cafeterias, hospitals, and more
For all of the details, you can visit the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's website.