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This map shows all trees in New York City

In New York City, a law was passed in 2018 to ban plastic straws. This year, the city has been pursuing the goal of eliminating further pollution: disposable foam containers came into effect on January 1st, but companies must comply by June 30th. From July 1, 2019, all businesses caught with the to-go containers will be fined. The law applies not only to the transport of containers, but also to the foaming of coffee cups, bowls and plates as well as for the packaging of peanuts.

The municipal authorities initially approved the so-called "foam ban" in 2013, citing environmental concerns. However, as noted in The New York Times the containers are often falsely referred to as styrofoam ̵

1; a product manufactured by Dow Chemical that is not used in disposable food containers.

More specifically, the containers are made of a type of plastic foam that is not biodegradable and also difficult to recycle. The ban on New York City came into effect in July 2015, but was waived three months later by a judge after the restaurant industry got together and sued the city. The restaurant coalition argued that the city could recycle the material and even save money. Of course there were other motivating factors: alternatives to plastic foam food containers are more expensive.

The lawsuit continued in 2017 when another judge ruled in favor of the city, saying the ban could be readjusted. However, the government makes special exceptions to charities and small business owners, who can prove that the ban would significantly affect their operations. Excluded are also butchers, in which the foam container for raw meat are used.

A similar foam ban came into effect in the city of Rockville, Maryland. Dozens of other cities have banned the material, including Washington, DC, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco. As for the planned plastic straw ban in New York City, it remains to be seen if the city will follow in the footsteps of Seattle and other cities.

[h/t Grub Street]

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