New York Coalition Implores Legislature To Reject Governor’s Polystyrene Ban

March 6, 2020

A broad coalition of New York state businesses and business associations, that represent thousands of workers, including union members call to stop the plastics ban. They called on Speaker Carl E. Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and all members of the legislature to reject a proposed ban on polystyrene products in the Governor’s Executive Budget. The coalition urged the legislature to instead work with the Administration to invest in new recycling technologies and infrastructure to recover and repurpose more plastics and other materials.

The coalition includes restaurateurs, food producers, packaging makers, small businesses, local and state unions, and others.

The Governor’s proposed budget would ban the use of polystyrene containers used for food, many of which are manufactured in New York State, as well as loose-fill packaging “peanuts”. The coalition said the proposal would harm New York state employers and employees and replace existing food packaging with materials that have a larger environmental footprint.

According to the coalition, the proposed ban would threaten the financial well-being of many businesses and educational institutions. For example, the Governor’s proposal would threaten upstate communities where businesses employing nearly 2,000 hard-working men and women in good-paying jobs making polystyrene packaging and other materials for sale and distribution in New York State. These job losses, some of which are union, would be devastating for employees, their families, and the communities in which they live, leading to serious repercussions for years to come.

The unintended cost of the Governor’s proposal would be felt by many New Yorkers. The ban could particularly threaten small businesses operating in low-income communities around the state that cannot pass along costs to their customers, particularly minority-owned small businesses in the downstate region.

The proposal also would have a negative impact on the environment because all food service establishments, retailers, educational institutions, and others selling food would be forced to use alternatives that may have greater negative impacts on the environment.

For example, banning polystyrene foodservice packaging would actually result in an increase in solid waste, energy use, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions because substitute products use more material and do not work as well. Lower weight food ware, such as foam plastic composed of more than 90% air, generally leaves a lighter environmental footprint than alternatives.

The coalition is urging the legislature and its leaders to remove the proposal from the FY2021 budget and work with union representatives, employers, and the other stewards of New York’s economy to solicit investments in the recycling technologies and infrastructure to process polystyrene and other materials.

The coalition includes:

  • Chris Wopperer, Vice President, Thermal Foams
  • Heather C. Briccetti, Esq. President and CEO, The Business Council of New York State
  • Kyle Roché, President, Armstrong Brands
  • Melissa Autillo Fleischut, President and CEO, New York State Restaurant Association
  • John McGrath, President and CEO, Pactiv
  • Mike Suever, President, Northeast Dairy Foods Association
  • Jim Lammers, CEO, Dart Container Corporation
  • Mike DiCocco, Business Representative
  • Machinist Union Local 264 Boston
  • Kevin Kelly, President, GenPak
  • Michael Durant, President & CEO, Food Industry Alliance
  • Paul J. Young, President and CEO, Tekni Plex
  • Margaret Gorman, Senior Director, Northeast Region American Chemistry Council
  • Jeffory J. Myers, President and CEO, Shelter Enterprises
  • Greg Biryla, NY State Director, National Federation of Independent Businesses
  • Kevin Walsh, Purchasing Manager, Vanocur
  • Brennan Georgianni, Manager State Government Affairs, Plastics Industry Association
  • Robert Canton, Owner, Memphis King Barbecue
  • Michael Kracker, Executive Director, Unshackle Upstate
  • Mark Bordeau, Director of Food Services, Broome-Tioga BOCES
  • Darren Chavis, Owner, Creole Soul Cafe
  • Scott Cooper, Owner, Cooper’s To Go

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people’s lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $553 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation’s economy. It is among the largest exporters in the nation, accounting for ten percent of all U.S. goods exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

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