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Statewide styrofoam ban goes into effect Jan. 1, WNY restaurants react

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Posted at 6:26 PM, Dec 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-28 18:26:34-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State is banning Styrofoam containers and packing peanuts effective January 1, 2022. Robert Quintana, who manages the Niagara Café on buffalo’s west side, said his restaurant is already feeling the cost difference.

“It is hurting us really hard,” Quintana said. “The container that would cost 45 cents is costing over a dollar and thirty cents now, that’s a big increase.”

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said “this is the logical next step to remove single-use products from the waste stream.” But Quintana said after a year of shutdowns and skyrocketing food prices, expenses are starting to add up.

“As a family-owned business, how much longer can we survive,” Quintana said.

While some said the switch is cause for concern, others said they’re not too worried yet.

Statewide styrofoam ban goes into effect Jan. 1, WNY restaurants react

“It might be a problem eventually,” President of Taki’s Restaurant Panaziotis Kyriakopoulos said. “But for now, everything seems like it’s going smooth.”

According to the DEC, 65% of New Yorkers are already subject to local foam bans. Kyriakopoulos from Taki’s Restaurant on Court Street in Downtown Buffalo said they’ve been preparing for the switch for the past year.

“Little by little,” Kyriakopoulos said. “5-6 months ago we made the last transition for the take-out containers.”

Management at both restaurants agree that the switch is a good idea, but Quintana said it’s coming at the wrong time.

“Why could you not have postponed this or put it on hold a little longer,” Quintana said.

And at both Niagara Café and Taki’s Restaurant, the switch will impact customers.

“It’s probably going to do a small price increase on food,” Kyriakopoulos said.

“You have to pass that cost along,” Quintana said. “Or you can’t survive anymore. We are at the edge of that cliff.”