Support the NYS Ban on Styrofoam
On Tuesday, February 18th we sent this letter to New York State Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and House Speaker Heastie seeking their support for the ban on styrofoam in the 2020-21 NYS Budget
From the letter: “We strongly support Governor Cuomo’s proposed ban of EPS foam disposable food service containers for prepared food or beverages and loose-fill packaging in his Executive Budget, and implores you to include this ban in your respective one-house budget proposals.
EPS foam, commonly referred to as “Styrofoam™”, poses a significant risk to the health of our environment. Polystyrene containers and loose-fill packaging are only used for a short time, but can remain in our environment for generations—littering open spaces, polluting waterways, and harming wildlife. In 2018, Riverkeeper conducted a shoreline cleanup of the Hudson River, its tributaries, and the New York City waterfront and found that foam pollution was the second most prevalent type of trash collected. Additionally, during their 2018 International Coastal Cleanup, the Ocean Conservancy collected over 2.3 million pieces of foam (over 580,570 foam take-out containers).”
We encourage you to contact our New York state and federal representatives to request their support of this proposal – see below for a sample script and please feel free to share the link to Save The River’s letter to the Governor. Their email addresses (sometimes via office staff representatives) are linked here:
- NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
- NYS House Speaker Carl Heastie
- New York Senator Patty Ritchie
- New York Assemblyman Mark Walczyk
Sample Script for Contacting Representatives Regarding the NYS Ban on Styrofoam
I am writing to request your support in Governor Cuomo’s proposed ban on Styrofoam for the NYS 2020-2021 budget. Please review this letter sent by Save The River/Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper to New York State Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and House Speaker Heastie.
I respectfully urge you to protect our communities and environment by banning Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam in the 2020-21 NYS Budget. We strongly support Governor Cuomo’s proposed ban of EPS foam disposable food service containers for prepared food or beverages and loose-fill packaging in his Executive Budget, and implore you to include this ban in your respective one-house budget proposals.
EPS foam doesn’t biodegrade; instead it breaks into small pieces and eventually becomes microplastic pollution in our waterways. Once microplastics enter our waterways, they act as toxic sponges, accumulating toxic chemicals present in the water, including pesticides and PCBs. The microplastics have been shown to accumulate toxins a million times higher than the surrounding waters. Studies show that when fish and aquatic life consume these microplastics, the chemicals are passed up the food chain to larger fish and wildlife, and ultimately, can end up on our dinner plates. Recent research completed at a major European University found nanoplastics in human feces of all eight people whose stool was sampled.
EPS foam contributes to the more than 22 million pounds of plastic that pollute the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River annually. Furthermore, polystyrene is manufactured from fossil fuels and requires intensive energy use and greenhouse gas emissions to produce and to ship.
Banning EPS foam containers and loose-fill packaging in the 2020-21 NYS Budget is essential to protect waterways, open spaces, wildlife, and public health across New York. EPS foam pollution is a statewide issue, yet the impacts are felt locally and the burden of combating it has unjustly been placed on local municipalities. The Governor’s proposal, which is nearly identical to legislation passed by many municipalities across the State, is comprehensive and will yield a substantial reduction in Styrofoam consumption, litter, and recycling contamination.
Member of Save The River