In its first month of enforcing the city’s ban on single-use foam plates, cups and other containers, the Department of Sanitation issued a total of 57 violations across the five boroughs, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. All of the violations were first time offenses, which carry a $250 fine. If a business or organization is cited a second time, the fine increases to $500. A third offense and above would result in a $1,000 fine.
Dirty single-use foam containers cannot be recycled in New York City, which means they are collected as trash by the Sanitation Department. Supporters of the ban argue that containers made of recyclable paper, plastic and aluminum as well as compostable materials are more environmentally friendly.
“When foam enters our waste stream, it becomes a source of neighborhood litter and can end up on our beaches and in our waterways,” acting Sanitation Commissioner Steven Costas said on July 1, the first day of enforcement. “It’s hazardous to marine life and can clog storm drains. It’s even a contaminant in our recycling and organics programs.”
The ban, which also includes packing peanuts, technically went into effect on Jan. 1, however, the city gave businesses, agencies and nonprofits a six-month grace period before beginning to issue fines. New Yorkers also won’t be seeing foam cups, plates, bowls or other single-use containers sold in stores.