New York State lawmakers are pushing for an expanded ban on polystyrene foam containers, such as the popular foam coolers that people use often during the summer months.

Lawmakers say the reason for the push is to curb the environmental impact caused by these non-biodegradable products. The proposed legislation, which has received overwhelming support in both the Assembly and the Senate, looks to prohibit the sale and distribution of foam containers used for cold storage.

If approved by Governor Kathy Hochul, lawmakers say this ban would be an important step towards reducing plastic pollution and protecting the state's waterways.

Background on Foam Container Ban

While New York State placed a ban on food and beverage foam containers and foam packaging peanuts two years ago, foam containers used for cold storage were left untouched. This legislation hopes to fill that gap while addressing the environmental impact caused by these containers.

Environmental Impact of Foam Containers

Environmentalists say that foam containers are notorious for their negative environmental impact. They are often left behind after outdoor activities or events, and due to their lightweight nature, they easily find their way into waterways. Once in the water, foam containers break down into smaller pieces, adding to the already significant challenge of plastic pollution cleanup.

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Alternatives to Foam Containers and Implementation

The proposed ban has received high praise from environmentalists, who highlight the availability of alternatives to foam containers. Reusable coolers and containers are suggested as more sustainable options for keeping items cool. It's important to note that medical foam coolers would be exempt from the ban. Additionally, many stores have already begun transitioning away from polystyrene containers, making the switch to more eco-friendly alternatives.

Foam Container Next Steps and Timeline

To become law, the ban on polystyrene foam containers for cold storage needs the approval of Governor Kathy Hochul. If signed, the ban is expected to take effect in 2026. As the legislation is being reviewed, state lawmakers are working hard in parliamentary sessions until June 6 to finalize the process.

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