Despite a ban that had already gone into effect, New Yorkers don't need to toss their Styrofoam cups.
On Monday, a New York Supreme Court judge overturned New York City's ban on plastic foam containers and packaging. According to Justice Margaret Chan, the city's Department of Sanitation's order to ban the items was arbitrary, capricious and irrational.
The law that banned items made with expanded polystyrene (EPS) in New York City went into effect on July 1, following a law passed in December 2013 that gave officials a year to determine if EPS could be recycled in a safe, environmental effective and economically feasible manner. The Department of Sanitation determined it could not -- a decision that Chan judged to be arbitrary.
Chan pointed to single-use foodservice manufacturer Dart Container's offer to clean waste from used foam in New York City, then buy back the used product and recycle the material as evidence that recycling what a feasible option.
While the EPS ban went into effect this summer, penalties were delayed until 2016. However, many restaurants, especially larger chains such as Dunkin' Donuts, have likely already begun the process of swapping out foam containers and packaging for other options. So, while there will be no penalties for Styrofoam cups, the ban may have already done its part in reducing EPS use in New York City.