Styrofoam trays are one step closer to joining indoor smoking and trans fats in the trash bins of city history.
Councilman Bill DeBlasio (D–Park Slope) on Wednesday introduced a bill that would ban all food establishments from using Styrofoam cups and take-out containers, and all city agencies from using the versatile synthetic material.
The ban would apply to the Department of Education, which churns through 153 million Styrofoam trays per year.
“It is mind-boggling that our city, which is becoming a leader on environmental issues, is still using Styrofoam when we know it is extremely harmful to our environment,” said DeBlasio. “[Once] it hits our landfills [it] stays there forever.”
Styrofoam, also known as polystyrene, is believed to take centuries to decompose.
DeBlasio first took on the issue of Styrofoam in June, joining forces with the Windsor Terrace-based Parents Against Styrofoam in Schools to recommend that the city ban Styrofoam trays from school cafeterias. His recommendation prompted a highly equivocal response from the city.
“We are looking at alternatives,” said mayoral spokeswoman Dawn Walker at the time.
The legislation would push the mayor’s hand on the issue, and expand the proposed ban from cafeterias to eateries citywide.
Berkeley, California and Portland, Oregon — both liberal enclaves like DeBlasio’s home district — have already passed similar measures. Perhaps a pilot program in Park Slope is next?