Economic Impact

The foam industry provides over 1,200 New York State jobs, and saves schools, businesses, consumers, and government agencies millions of dollars every year.
Foam recycling programs have saved some schools between 20-40% on material collection fees.[iii]

Banning foam would hurt school districts. Many school districts use foam lunch trays because they can realize significant savings. A foam tray costs considerably less than a compostable tray.[i]

manufacturing plantA ban on polystyrene foam in New York City would mean a serious economic impact on local business owners and organizations who would be forced to trade in their valuable and effective foam products for costly alternatives. Specifically expected to be dealt the brunt of this burden are locally owned restaurants, more than 90% of which are identified as small businesses. [i]

According to a study produced on behalf of the American Chemistry Council, “Total costs to replace plastic foam foodservice and drink containers and trays with the lowest-cost alternative are estimated at $91.3 million [per year.]” This amount corresponds to an average increase in the cost of foodservice items of 94%, meaning that business owners and organizations would be nearly doubling the amount they currently pay for foam products. [ii] This increased cost of doing business will eventually be passed on to the consumer.

Restaurants throughout New York City will see a $57 million increase in the costs of foodservice products should a ban on foam products take effect. This has the potential to impact the bottom line of businesses that employ over 137,000 New Yorkers. [ii]

In addition to the economic impact this proposed ban would have on New York City business owners and consumers, the livelihood of many individuals would be at risk. Some 1,200 manufacturing jobs throughout New York State would be in seriously jeopardy should this ban be imposed. [ii]

[i] Jake Pearson, Call to ban polystyrene foam bugs some in NYC, The Columbus Dispatch, February 17, 2013;

[ii] New Study Details Economic And Environmental Costs Of NYC Polystyrene Ban, PRNEWSWIRE, March, 20, 2013;

[iii] Franklin Associates, Ltd. Final Peer-Reviewed Report: Life Cycle Inventory of Polystyrene Foam, Bleached Paperboard, and Corrugated Paperboard Foodservice Products (Prepared for The Polystyrene Packaging Council, March 2006).