Cuomo seeks to ban single-use Styrofoam food containers, packing peanuts in New York State

Posted at 12:05 PM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 12:07:56-05

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — Governor Andrew Cuomo announced one of the proposals in his 2020 State of the State Agenda on Tuesday, and it could have an effect on restaurants, grocery stores and the shipping industry.

The proposal seeks to ban the distribution and use of single-use Styrofoam, also known as expanded polystyrene. The material is used to create food containers commonly used by restaurants, delis and food trucks for takeout meals. Grocery stores use it to package eggs, fish and raw meat. It's also used to make packaging materials like packing peanuts.

Under the proposed legislation, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation would also be given the authority to limit or ban the use of other packaging material based on its environmental impact.

Governor Cuomo's proposal outlines a fine structure for violators based on repeat offenses. First-time offenders would be fined $250. From there, fines increase to $2,000 for fourth-time violators.

If the proposed legislation passes through the New York State Senate and Assembly, businesses in the state would have until January 1, 2022 to phase out use of expanded polystyrene.

Styrofoam is not biodegradable, and the National Toxicology Program says styrene is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen."

Governor Cuomo's State of the State Address is coming up in mid-January.