Business Reacts To New State Law Ban On Styrofoam Food Containers

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) – Getting food to go will have a different look and feel this year. That’s because the state’s ban on styrofoam products has gone into effect on January 1st.

One business owner says he uses 600 to 700 styrofoam containers weekly. He understands the need to transition away from this material however the supply chain issues are making it difficult for him to access alternatives.

The Kitchen Manager for the Elbow room says take-out orders make up about 50% of their business. They use styrofoam for chicken wings, fried food, and sandwich to-go orders. He has no problem changing over from the use of styrofoam products. The problem he says is the cost of the alternative products, they are double and triple the cost.

“For the last two years with the pandemic small businesses and restaurants, they’ve been hit very very hard and this is just another thing that we have to deal with and again we don’t have a problem with switching over but the added cost is going to cut into our bottom line,” Rodney Strange said.

He believes this added cost may impact customers. They may have to raise the price for to-go orders.

“Some of these materials that I’m holding cost seventy-five cents per box we gotta figure out what we are going to do how we are going to save money here in the kitchen to have to move this cost on to the customers,” Strange said.

They are exploring all replacement container options from cardboard to hard plastic.

“I have to switch back and forth between different colors of containers and different types to adhere to the styrofoam ban so that’s becoming a problem too,” Strange said.

The other problem he says, they are having a hard time getting these replacement containers.

“I’ve ordered a couple of cases, then the next time I went to order they’d be out of stock,” Strange said.

Now businesses that don’t follow the law, face potential fines of up to $250 for a first-time offense and up to $1,000 for a third violation in a single calendar year.


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