Styrofoam ban starts in NYC on Jan. 1: Mayor de Blasio

A citywide Styrofoam ban will go into effect next year, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday.

The ban on single-use Styrofoam plates, cups or containers and loose-fill packaging, such as packing peanuts, will go into effect Jan. 1, 2019, according to the mayor. The announcement, he said, comes as a 2017 lawsuit against implementing the ban was dismissed Friday.

“New York City’s ban on Styrofoam is long overdue, and New Yorkers are ready to start using recyclable alternatives,” de Blasio said in a statement. “There’s no reason to continue allowing this environmentally unfriendly substance to flood our streets, landfills, and waterways.”

Once the ban goes into effect, there is a six-month grace period before fines will be imposed. Nonprofits and small businesses with less than $500,000 in revenue per year are also able to apply for a hardship exemption.

The ban was first enacted in 2015, but the Restaurant Action Alliance of New York City and others sued the city. A Manhattan Supreme Court Judge at the time ruled in favor of restaurants, saying the city failed to take into account the options available for recycling expanded polystyrene foam.

After the city issued a new directive, the Restaurant Action Alliance again joined a group of restaurant owners, foam manufacturers and recyclers to file a lawsuit in 2017 against the city, claiming the material is indeed recyclable.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the group said they were considering further legal options in light of Friday’s case dismissal.

“Foam provides exceptional cost savings and functionality for small businesses and ethnic restaurants, which, like mine, have served our communities for decades,” Akesha Freeman, president of the Restaurant Action Alliance NYC, said in a statement. “The decision today, which will essentially continue the City’s misguided ban, will surely drive some of us out of business.”