First he dictated the size of our cups – now he wants to ban what they’re made of.
The Bloomberg administration is considering banning Styrofoam cups and containers – popular at thousands of delis and food carts across the city– as it prepares to roll out a major recycling announcement in the coming weeks, a Sanitation Department official said yesterday.
“We’re studying all the different things in our waste stream. We want to make sure that everything in our waste stream is recyclable,” Ron Gonen, deputy commissioner for recycling at Sanitation, told The Post.
A Styrofoam ban would edge the city closer to that number, supporters argue.
Gonen said the popular packaging, which has long been maligned by environmental advocates, is nearly impossible to recycle.
“The [recycling] machinery wasn’t really built to handle Styrofoam,” he said. “If something is not recyclable, we want to find an alternative for that packaging or product.”
It costs the city an average of $86 per ton to landfill some 2 million tons of regular garbage – including Styrofoam – per year.
By contrast, the city nets a payment of at least $10 a ton for recycling paper and about $14 a ton for recycling glass and plastic, Gonen said.
Other cities have already ordered restaurants to lay off Styrofoam use, including Brookline, Mass., and Seattle.
Supporters note that the bans have substantially cut down on landfill use and that trash bins are far less full without the containers.
But opponents – many of them restaurant and cart owners – have blasted the measure as unnecessarily intrusive.
Similar local proposals to ban Styrofoam have stalled in the City Council and many restaurateurs don’t welcome the idea of yet another restriction on their business.
While the Styrofoam proposal is gaining momentum at City Hall, officials said the upcoming report on recycling recommendations might omit the measure.
Bloomberg’s mayoralty has been marked by similar crusades – many successful – to improve New Yorkers’ collective behavior.
Hizzoner successfully zapped the dispensing of oversized sugary drinks, compelled restaurants to post the calorie counts of meals and instituted wide-ranging bans on smoking across the city.