Albany County is one step closer to going green after another Styrofoam ban was signed into law Wednesday night. This one builds on the initial ban passed five years ago, but what does this mean for residents and businesses?
What is the expansion?
Now, Albany County restaurants are no longer allowed to use foam cups, plates or utensils – only if they are permitted by the county.
Who/what is impacted?
There are some exemptions for non-profits whose “primary purpose is selling food for fundraising efforts” and any grocery stores who are permitted through the state.
And as for those small businesses that might hurt from having to purchase the non-Styrofoam containers? They can apply for a waiver if they can prove that switching will be “detrimental” to their business.
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says that anyone doing business with the county or within the government won't be allowed to use Styrofoam either, which includes county-operated facilities – like jails or nursing homes.
Instead, they have to trade those items in for more environmentally friendly or recyclable options.
The previous law approved in 2013 also applied to certain chain fast food locations.
Putnam, Ulster, Dutchess County and New York City have also all banned Styrofoam.
Why ban Styrofoam?
Officials say it is the first step that needs to be taken to help protect the environment.
Polystyrene (Styrofoam), especially if it had food or drink in it, cannot be properly recycled. So when it is sent to landfills it doesn’t break down properly (not biodegradable).
It can clog storm drains and pollute waterways and even water supplies, and has even been linked to cancer.