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NYC will begin banning restaurant plastic foam in July

January 8, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City will move to the forefront of a growing environmental trend by banning food establishments from using plastic foam containers starting this summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced Thursday.

De Blasio’s mayoral ban will fulfill an initiative begun by his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, who first suggested banning the material in his final State of the City address, in 2013. New York will now be the largest city in the U.S. — following San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Oregon — to prohibit the foam containers, which environmental groups have long decried as a hazard that clogs U.S. landfills.

Administration officials believe that the ban will remove nearly 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene from the city’s streets, waterways and landfills, and it continues de Blasio’s push to create a greener New York City. Last year, he announced an ambitious plan to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 from its 2005 levels.

The ban will go into effect July 1. Beginning that day, food establishments — from food carts to Chinese takeout — will not be allowed to use plastic foam cups or containers. Packing peanuts will also not be allowed to be sold within the city, though peanuts can still be placed within packages that are shipped to New York from elsewhere.

Administration officials said the ban will have a grace period, without fines, until January 2016.

News of the ban, a day after the announcement of the end of a ban on mobile phones in public schools, also marked an attempt by de Blasio to return to focusing on his agenda after more than a month of headlines dominated by ongoing tensions between City Hall and the New York’s rank-and-file police.

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