As New York Major Bill De Blasio has issued a ban on expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam products, effective July 1, 2015, the city of Yonkers has decided to take a more sustainable option and run a foam recycling program. The city began recycling on the 15th of November and by the 31st of December, it had collected over one ton of foam. The majority of the recyclable material was collected by local residents who dropped the foam foodservice products and packaging foam off at the recycling center on Saw Mill River Road.
This shows that residents in Yonkers are willing to take the extra step to recycle foam even when curbside recycling for foam isn’t available. This foam recycling program is the first of its kind in New York and manages to dispel previously held myths that foam bearing the #6 mark is not recyclable.
The major issue that New Yorkers are having with the ban on foam products is the cost to replace these products with alternatives, which are typically twice as expensive. While most major corporations and conglomerates can afford this added expense, the businesses that are set to suffer are those earning less than $500,000 per year as well as nonprofits. They won’t be able to absorb these costs and will lose customers to these higher prices.
The progressive approach that Yonkers has taken towards foam products will hopefully prove to many more cities within New York that recycling foam foodservice and packaging materials will have a much better effect on the environment and the economy than an all-out ban.