Foodservice Equipment Reports

Bloomberg Eyes Ban On Foam Foodservice Packaging

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has already battled trans fats, smoking and supersized sodas during his 11 years in office, has now proposed a citywide ban on “foam-based foodservice products,” including coffee cups, trays and clamshell containers.

“We have unfinished business and only 320 days to complete it,” said the mayor in his final State of the City address on Feb. 14. He is serving his third and final term in office.

Plastic foam makes up an estimated 20,000 tons of the city’s annual waste, according to the mayor’s office. A ban on the substance, which requires clearance from the City Council, would follow similar action by lawmakers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.

Bloomberg also plans to expand efforts to allow recycling of clear, rigid drink and salad containers which currently are tossed in with the regular garbage. “We’ll start by making recycling easier for everyone,” the mayor promised. “As we recycle more plastics, we’ll also begin recycling food waste.”

A new pilot program to collect curbside food waste from Staten Island homes to use as compost for parks could expand citywide, cutting down on the 1.2 million tons of scraps sent to landfills each year. It was not stated whether the program could expand to the foodservice sector.

Students and cafeteria workers at 68 city schools already participate in a program separating food from the rest of their garbage; the food is then composted and converted into energy or fertilizer at a local waste plant. More than a third of the schools’ food garbage has been recycled.

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