In his final State of the City address, Mayor Michael Bloomberg will propose a citywide ban on plastic-foam food packaging, a non-biodegradable polymer environmentalists have derided for years.
As reported by The New York Times, the ban will include takeout boxes, cups and trays, forcing restaurants and bodegas to restock.
“We can live without it, we may live longer without it, and the doggie bag will survive just fine,” said Bloomberg in excerpts from his speech released on Wednesday.
In the Prospect Heights area, many restaurants have already moved away from plastic foam containers.
PeteZaas, on Classon Avenue in nearby Crown Heights, for example, uses biodegradable cups made from cellulose, cardboard pizza boxes that break into plates for double use and paper Chinese food containers for the appetizers. They also use knives made from sustainably grown birch.
"We don't use Styrofoam here (Burrito Bar) or at Carlton Park," said Greg Yerman, who owns both Flatbush Avenue restaurants.
"I feel badly for small businesses that do use it and can't afford to buy something more expensive," he added.
Public schools would also be affected: they would be required to remove plastic-foam trays from their cafeterias, the paper reported.
City officials are saying that curtailing an annual waste stream of about 20,000 tons of plastic foam could save up to $20 per ton in recycling costs equaling millions of dollars per year.
Under the mayor's administration, the percentage of waste recycled by the city has fallen from 23 percent in 2001, to 15 percent today.
In his speech, the mayor also will pledge to install 1,000 recycling containers on sidewalks, effectively doubling the current number.