The mayor declared war on the plastic cups in his State of the City address last month. Since then, public policy experts have been examining the plan and found it hazardous to the city’s health.
A coalition of policy organizations warned the New York City Council in a letter delivered this morning (Mar 11). It said the ban would cause more harm than good, because paper cups would be used to replace Styrofoam cups at a higher cost to individuals the environment.
“The justifications cited by ban advocates are either the result of an incomplete real-world analysis or are simply based on incorrect information,” the letter said.
“Styrofoam might not always be the right choice for all food-service items, but every product carries trade-offs. Just try carrying hot soup in a paper cup. You’ll need multiple cups,” the group noted.
“In fact, Styrofoam is highly energy efficient, and life-cycle studies have shown that it actually requires a whole lot less energy than paper cups [to produce]. And both products either end up in the landfill, or are recycled.” But the odds of dirty cups being recycle is far less.
Replacing one foam cup with three paper cups could require 36 times more water for production, the letter noted citing a separate study.
“An outright ban on Styrofoam in food-service settings is an unwise approach. While it won’t protect the environment or help the City meet recycling goals, it will unnecessarily increase costs for restaurants, facilities, and consumers,” the letter concluded.
The missive was signed by Jeff Stier, director of the Risk Analysis Division at the National Center for Public Policy Research; Julie Gunlock, director of Women for Food Freedom of the Independent Women’s Forum, and Angela Logomasini, Senior Fellow of the Center for Energy and Environment of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
The Mayor’s other hair-brained scheme, a ban on the sale of soda in cups larger than 16 ounces, goes into effect Tuesday.