The deadline may have been pushed back to January 1 but restaurants in New York City that use foam containers are still going to have to make major changes in the way they package their doggie bags and take-out food before then. Originally scheduled for July 1, and now starting with the new year, the city has banned restaurants from using plastic foam containers. This has created a mad scramble for many of New York City’s restaurants and foodservice operators and the manufacturers and distributors that serve them.
Among the industry’s leading innovators is Front of the House®, which offers a full line of aggressively priced foam alternatives under its Servewise® brand, to the New York City foodservice operator.
“The quality and flexibility of these products will make this transition as simple as possible for both our distributors and end-user,” says Simone Mayer, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of FOH, Inc., parent company of leading hospitality brands Front of the House® and room360° by FOH®.
The company provides biodegradable Poplar Wood plates, utensils, boats, ramekins, cones, and platters, and recyclable PET lids under its Servewise® brand.
“Servewise® is the eco-smart, eco-chic, eco-responsible and priced-right serving option for all menus. It is made from poplar wood – a highly renewable resource – and is biodegradable and compostable,” Mayer notes. “It’s affordable and guilt-free. No more polluting the environment with foam.”
“These products cause real environmental harm and have no place in New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio says. “We have better options, better alternatives, and if more cities across the country follow our lead and institute similar bans, those alternatives will soon become more plentiful and will cost less.”
The mayor adds that the ban will remove nearly 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene waste from the city’s landfills, streets, and waterways. “While much of the waste we produce can be recycled or reused, polystyrene foam is not one of those materials,” explained Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “Removing polystyrene from our waste stream is not only good for a greener, more sustainable New York, but also for the communities who are home to landfills receiving the city’s trash.”
According to the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the ban will also improve the city’s rivers and waterfront, and, ultimately, conditions for marine life in the Atlantic Ocean.
The ban, which will affect restaurants, city school cafeterias, and street carts, originally set for July 1, with a six-month grace period during which businesses won’t be fined for using the containers, now mandates that this year is the last for foam containers. Businesses and nonprofits with annual revenue of $500,000 or less can be exempted from the ban, but will have to prove that the use of materials besides plastic foam would cause them financial hardship.
Over 70 cities across the country including Washington, DC, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Albany, and Seattle have banned plastic foam. Bill de Blasio’s predecessor Michael Bloomberg first suggested banning plastic foam in New York during his final State of the City address in 2013. With sources to turn to led by Front of the House® Servewise® disposables, the transition can be seamless.