We have a huge cheer for New York State Supreme Court Justice Margaret A. Chan who rejected an industry-backed challenge to New York City’s ban on polystyrene foam food and beverage containers. Barring an appeal, by 2019, restaurants and food vendors will be prohibited from using foam containers.

Foam containers becoming a thing of the past in New York City is good news for our waterways and marine life. Since the 1970s the containers have created litter and pollution problems throughout NYC. There is a substantial body of evidence documenting the harmful effects of aquatic plastic debris on river and marine organisms, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It has been estimated that plastic marine debris adversely affects at least 267 species globally, including 86% of sea turtles, 44% of seabirds and 43% of marine mammals. 

Sea turtles, for example, readily consume plastic bags because they look so much like jellyfish. And seabirds are prone to ingesting microplastic debris that floats. The ingestion of plastic particles can lead to impairment of feeding capacity due to blockage of the digestive system, decreased mobility, reduction of reproductive capacity, infection, suffocation and starvation.

Microplastics come from large pieces of plastic that eventually break up or from health and beauty aids like exfoliating facial scrubs and toothpastes that use synthetic microbeads.

We offer a plethora of ways to overcome plastic addiction in our summer/fall issue of Action Line. Stay tuned. Until then, with a click of the mouse we found these two reusable to-go containers that will allow you to say no to unnecessary packaging next time you go out to eat: www.lunchbots.com and www.weangreen.com.