Timely Announcements


Zero Waste Capital District is looking for NYS residents to offer their comments in support of the upcoming regulations banning styrofoam (polystrene) single use food packaging and packing peanuts in NYS.

Please send a quick email supporting the regulations banning polystyrene to: foamban@dec.ny.gov by November 22nd, 2021.

You can also attend a public hearing via zoom

Residents are encouraged to show their support for this regulation via Zoom on November 15, 2021 at 1pm.

Access: To join through the internet, visit www.webex.com

Event Number: 179 819 9754

Password: welcome1

To join by phone only, dial: 1-518-549-0500

Access code: 179 819 9754

Persons wishing to comment on the proposed rule will have the opportunity to make a statement at the virtual public hearing. Any person wishing to provide a public statement must register in advance of the hearing no later than 1 p.m. on November 14, 2021.

Any person who wishes only to observe the webinar online must also register. Any person may listen to the hearing by phone without pre-registration.

"but hasn't the ban already passed?"

Yes! Though legislation for the foam ban passed in 2020, it is expected that the plastics industry will voice opposition, and potentially use industry resources to weaken regulations or delay the enactment of the ban. It is important that the DEC get many emails from NYS residents so that the agency has proof of continued and widespread support of the ban.

List of talking points

  • Styrofoam is 95% air and cannot be economically recycled.* Our landfills are filling up and we have no place to put it.

  • Like most single-use plastics, polystyrene containers increase the taxes/fees we pay for collection and disposal.

  • Polystyrene does not biodegrade. We use it for 10 minutes and it lasts for hundreds of years, breaking down into tiny pieces which birds, fish and animals ingest.

  • Plastic is polluting rivers, lakes and oceans, harming wildlife and marine life, and entering our food chain and drinking water.

  • Styrene, the building block of Styrofoam, is classified as a “probable human carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. And according to the Report on Carcinogens, US Department of Health and Human Services, 2016, "Styrene is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen."

  • Studies also show that polystyrene, especially when heated and used with foods that are fatty/acidic, leaches into our food and drink.

  • Polystyrene and other plastics have been found in bottled water. On March 15, 2018, researchers at SUNY Fredonia revealed that 93% of bottled drinking water contains microplastics. 11% of those microplastics are polystyrene.

  • Polystyrene contaminates other recyclables. Polystyrene is one of the contaminants in the single-stream, so it has materially contributed to the recycling crisis we now are facing. Banning it will help with the overall recycling of other materials.

For more information, go to http://www.massgreen.org/.

*On June 5, 2018 the NYS Supreme Court upheld the NYC styrofoam ban, deciding that NYC had proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that recycling styrofoam is not "economically feasible nor environmentally sound." (See https://www.politico.com/states/f/?id=00000163-e163-d9aa-af77-fff349430000.)