Get The Facts
Polystyrene foam and other plastic foodservice products are affordable, convenient, sanitary and sturdy – they keep our hot drinks hot without scalding our hands and keep our food fresher and ready to eat. As more of us are eating and drinking away from home, they help make possible the way we eat and live today.
- Polystyrene foam is getting recycled right now. Curbside recycling for polystyrene foam is already happening in more than 65 cities across California with the population of those cities accounting for more than 8 million people, a number close to the total population of New York City.
- Alternative paper-based foodservice recycling is not commercially available in NYC. The same challenges for foodservice recycling are faced by both paper-based and non-paper based materials.
- There is a market for the recycled material right here in the Tri-State Areas. Companies around the country – including one in North Brunswick, New Jersey – are currently turning recycled foam into everything from picture frames to crown molding.
- Commonly used cups, plates and sandwich containers made of polystyrene foam use significantly less energy and water than comparable paper-based (coated paperboard) or corn-based (polylactic: PLA) alternatives, primarily due to polystyrene foam’s much lower weight.
- Estimated annual sales of polystyrene foam containers such as clamshells, cups, plates and bowls in New York City are currently $97.1 million. A ban would cost NYC businesses, consumers and agencies at least an additional $91.3 million per year because they would be forced to switch to higher-cost alternatives.
- Total fiscal impacts to NYC agencies are estimated to range from $14.5 million to $18.6 million annually, including $11.2 million in added procurement costs for plastic foam substitutes plus potential decreased business income tax revenues of $3.3 to $7.4 million per year.
- The polystyrene foam foodservice industry provides a positive ripple effect in creating and maintaining jobs across New York State., Four companies in the state with nine facilities employ more than 1,200 people and contribute $47.5 million in payroll and pay $2.3 million in state taxes. These companies provide NYC with polystyrene foam foodservice products and would be negatively impacted by a ban in NYC.
Economic Impacts on Businesses:
- Foam is much less expensive than alternatives. Small business owners – restaurants, food trucks, delis – would be hit hard by this increase in their costs. Needless to say, these are businesses that are already facing pressures to their bottom lines.
Learn more about the environmental and economic benefits of foam foodservice products:
- Access to Recycling: Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Items - Research on access to polystyrene (EPS) and paper food service recycling or composting for the ﬁfty largest communities in the United States and the ﬁfty largest communities in California.
- Economic Impact Study – Read about the economic impacts of a ban on consumers, businesses and taxpayers.
- Take A Closer Look at Polystyrene Packaging: Safe, Affordable and Environmentally Responsible
- The Lifecycle of Polystyrene Foam
- Recycling Facts
- Polystyrene Foam and Litter