Hughes Enterprises

Green Packaging: So Long Styrofoam (And Styrofoam Peanuts!)

New York City is planning a styrofoam ban beginning July 1; this includes Styrofoam peanuts, or “packing popcorn”.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg originally proposed the ban during a February 2013 State of the City address and now Mayor Bill de Blasio is seeing it through. He announced earlier this month that all plastic-foam containers and packaging will be banned from New York City as of July 1. Restaurants, stores and manufacturers will no longer be allowed to possess, sell or offer items made with Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam articles or polystyrene loose fill packaging, such as “packing peanuts”. The Department of Sanitation determined that expanded polystyrene foam is not recyclable, which led to this ban.

The Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Nilda Mesa, stated, “NYC is now the largest city in the country to ban EPS foam, and we hope this will inspire others to do the same. This ban will improve our rivers and waterfront and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean with its rich fisheries and marine life.”

About EPS:

• The New York City Department of Sanitation estimates that there were about 28,000 tons of plastic foam waste in fiscal year 2014.
• Expanded polystyrene is a plastic resin manufactured into consumer products such as “foam” cups, containers, trays, plates, clamshell cases, “packing peanuts” and egg cartons.
• EPS foam is a lightweight material that can clog storm drains and end up on beaches. EPS containers can break down into smaller pieces, which marine animals may mistake for food. The environmental assessment prepared for the bill found that expanded polystyrene particles can wind up in the harbor, and in the floating gyre of non-biodegradable plastic debris that has been found in the Atlantic Ocean – creating a hazard for marine life such as sea turtles and fish.
• In New York, nonprofits and small businesses that make less than $500,000 in revenue may qualify for a hardship exemption from the Department of Small Business Services if they can prove that buying alternative products would cause financial problems.
• While the New York City law will go into effect July 1, there will be a six-month grace period (until January 2016) before businesses are fined for violations. During the first year the law is in place, businesses will receive a warning.

Styrofoam is already banned in cities across the country, including Washington, DC, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Albany, and Seattle. In total, more than seventy cities have banned polystyrene foam and businesses large and small have shifted to alternative products that are biodegradable or otherwise recyclable.

Hughes offers many alternatives to Styrofoam and shipping peanuts including our 100% recycled polystyrene packaging – FLO-PAK and SUPER 8 – and BIO 8 cornstarch loose fill and PAPERplus paper dunnage which is made from 100% natural, recycled Kraft paper that can be used over and over. Order your company’s protective packaging products from Hughes. For help with ordering your loose fill protective packaging for your shipping operation contact a Hughes sales representative for assistance.

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