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Cuomo proposes ban on foam food containers

WRVO News (file photo)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A ban on single-use food and beverage containers made from polystyrene foam was proposed Tuesday by New York’s governor.

The proposed ban on the containers commonly known as Styrofoam would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022, and would also include packing peanuts, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Environmental groups have sought foam bans amid rising public awareness of throwaway plastic that accumulates in the oceans. States including Maine and Vermont joined dozens of communities this year from Berkeley, California, to New York City that have already passed their own bans.

“From take-out containers to packing peanuts, this material is everywhere and it will continue to pollute our waters and harm our wildlife for generations to come if we do not act,” Cuomo said.

Democratic state Sen. Todd Kaminsky said he’s confident that the Democratic-led Legislature would welcome the bill.

Cuomo said his legislation would allow state environmental officials to study other packaging material and potentially impose more limits or bans. The ban would also exempt prepackaged food as well as packaging for uncooked or raw meat, fish or eggs. Violators would face a $250 fine that would increase to $500, $1,000 and $2,000 for subsequent violations.

New York State Restaurant Association President and CEO Melissa Fleischut said her group will push to protect restaurants from price increases.

Cuomo said the ban would build on a new law banning plastic bags in New York, which starts in March.

Several companies such as Dunkin’ and McDonald’s have also pledged to or have already eliminated foam cups.

Earlier this year, the city of Oswego voted to ban single use plastic containers starting in April 2020, as part of Mayor Billy Barlow's "Keep Oswego Clean" initiative. 

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