Governor Cuomo Unveils Plan for Statewide Polystyrene Ban
Earlier this week Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that one part of his proposed 2020 budget will be a statewide polystyrene ban. The proposal would ban EPS food containers from prepared foods or beverages served by restaurants, caterers, food trucks, retail food stores, delis and groceries, but would not ban EPS from prepackaged food sealed before it arrives at the foodservice establishments. Penalties will start at $250 and rise to $2,000. No further language has been released on the proposal.

The NYS Restaurant Association spoke with several news outlets about the proposal and expressed concern over what this may do to the bottom line of restaurants. We understand the need to look for ways to be more environmentally conscious, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of a business being able to operate successfully. The Association is strongly encouraging that the final language include a hardship waiver for restaurants if costs increase by more than 5 percent due to this ban. This language was included in the final version of the New York City law that banned these products. 

Albany County Passes Plastic Straw Ban
The Albany County Legislature passed a ban on plastic straws and single use plastic cutlery earlier this week. The ban will take effect six months after the county executive signs the bill. There is some confusion surrounding the final language and whether it allows for plastic straws to be made available upon request to customers following an educational period. The sponsors of the bill have said they intended for this to be part of the final law but there may have been an error in the language that will need to be corrected later. The NYS Restaurant Association has asked for clarification from the Albany County Department of Health on how they are going to interpret the law, but we have yet to hear back from them on this issue. We will continue to update all affected parties as we get clarification.

NYC DSNY Reviewing Testimony on Proposed Commercial Organics Expansion
The NYC Department of Sanitation is in the process of reviewing all testimony and comments made at the November 20 hearing regarding a proposed expansion of commercial organics rules. The proposed expansion would widen the scope of businesses who must source-separate their organic waste and either donate (leftover food) or compost that waste. NYSRA testified at that hearing with concerns on how the proposed expansion would impact businesses, especially in light of the new commercial waste zones plan that will come into effect over the next few years. Our testimony was quoted in a WasteDive article this week , New York closer to citywide commercial organics diversion with latest proposal .

There is no deadline for the department to complete their review of testimony and amend the proposed rules . We will keep you updated as any new information becomes available.
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