The study, conducted by MB Public Affairs of New York for the Washington-based American Chemistry Council, estimated that city restaurants would see an increase in costs of $57 million and it would put more than 1,200 polystyrene manufacturing jobs in New York state in jeopardy. The total estimated cost to the city would be $91.3 million.
For every $1 now spent on plastic foam foodservice and drink containers, New York City consumers and businesses would have to spend at least $1.94 on alternative replacements, according to the study.
The study also stated that many popular alternatives to polystyrene foam can’t be recycled and may harm the environment. The study characterized alternatives such as other plastics and coated paperboard as heavier and larger in volume, use more energy to produce and transport, and take up more room in landfills. The report also said polystyrene foam is recycled in about 65 U.S. cities.
“A ban on polystyrene foam would have serious economic impacts to the city and to state businesses,” the report concluded. “It would require businesses and consumers to switch to higher cost alternatives that are in many cases inferior to polystyrene products. And most importantly, it would have little to no impact on waste reduction or other environmental concerns.”
In February Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed the ban of Styrofoam plastic containers, saying it is virtually impossible to recycle and increases the cost of recycling by as much as $20 a ton because it has to be removed.