Albany County lawmakers vote down Styrofoam expansion ban

March 14, 2017 04:50 AM

ALBANY - A few dozen supporters of "Local Law S" gathered in Academy Park to chant together in their denouncement of polystyrene.

The law to ban Styrofoam in food chains passed in 2013. This expansion would include coffee cups and to-go containers that the environmentally conscious agree, can not be recycled and just add to our landfills.

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"It is not possible to recycle food soiled Styrofoam so when people talk about recycling foam they're talking about the packaging blocks," Sarah Womer explained, Riverkeeper Community Engagement Director. 

Inside the Albany County Legislature more than 30 people signed up to speak there was only enough time for half each declaring their take on whether or not Styrofoam is safe.

A Middletown Plant Director said, "The amount of styrene is probably less than what you find in a group of strawberries or cinnamon which is styrene based."

Representatives from food packaging manufacturers and plants that produce polystyrene spoke in opposition of expanding the ban.

"The primary economic impact will be on small business is mom-and-pop stores and non-for profits," Paul Poe said, of Michigan based Dart Container Corporation.

Cider Belly Owner, Jennifer Novak didn't get to speak before the legislature but told me her business does use biodegradable containers and she doesn't suffer because of it.

"I employ seven people, we charge a dollar for doughnuts, a dollar for coffee and we still manage to make a profit," Novak explained.

Sponsors of the bill like Christopher Higgins spoke passionately about it's passage while Paul Burgdorf brought props to reference the high cost of paper versus Styrofoam.

Ultimately, the ban would be voted down, 21 to 16 with one abstention.


Karen Tararache

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