November 4, 2017




Ban on plastic foam containers takes effect in Dutchess

PLEASANT VALLEY – Dutchess County’s new law banning the use of polystyrene or plastic foam food containers by chain food service establishments was signed into law on Friday by County Executive Marcus Molinaro.  He signed the measure before fourth grade students at Joseph D’Aquanni West Road Intermediate School in Pleasant Valley.

The foam product has been identified as a potential human carcinogen by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Polystyrene, sometimes referred to as “Styrofoam,” which is a specific brand, is poorly biodegradable, difficult to recycle and can be toxic when burned.

Molinaro said the new law “is a positive step toward safeguarding our residents and planet.”

Molinaro posed with students before signing the law

The law will take effect immediately and be enforced starting January 1, 2019. It prohibits food chains with 15 or more locations nationwide and operating in Dutchess County to provide prepared foods for public consumption from selling, packaging or distributing food in Styrofoam containers – bowls, plates, cups and other containers that hold food.

County government departments and facilities will also be prohibited from using disposable food service containers with Styrofoam at any county facility or event.

The law contains exemptions including one for establishments that demonstrate a gross income below $500,000 and are unable to find a cost-neutral alternative to those foam food containers.

The first violation of the law will result in a written warning notice that specifies the penalties in the event of future violations. The county Department of Behavioral and Community Health with police the use. Fines of up to $250 may be levied for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and $1,000 for the third and subsequent offenses.


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