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New York City bans restaurants from using plastic foam containers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced today that, starting July 1, the city’s food establishments will be banned from using plastic foam containers.

The polystyrene in the containers, which are generally used for take-out meals, is difficult to reuse and recycle, and often clogs landfills, de Blasio said, in a statement released Thursday.

“These products cause real environmental harm and have no place in New York City,” he said. “We have better options, better alternatives, and if more cities across the country follow our lead and institute similar bans, those alternatives will soon become more plentiful and will cost less.”

The ban is expected to prevent 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene from ending up in the streets or landsfills, de Blasio added. The idea was originally proposed by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his 2013 State of the City Address.

While New York isn’t the first major city to ban the material — Seattle, San Francisco and Portland all have similar bans — it is the largest city to do so. De Blasio has also said he plans to reduce the city’s 2005 carbon emissions levels by 80 percent by 2050.

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