Westchester lawmakers vote to ban expanded polystyrene takeout containers

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WHITE PLAINS – The Westchester County Board of Legislators voted Monday night to ban the sale or use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) coffee cups, other containers and utensils used for takeout and prepared foods, and for restaurant leftovers.

The law also prohibits EPS food containers to be used by vendors and restaurants or sold in stores.

Prepackaged food that arrives sealed in EPS packaging, as well as packaging for raw eggs and butcher case packaging, are exempt.

“Expanded polystyrene doesn’t decompose,” said legislature Majority Leader Catherine Parker. “When you throw away that EPS coffee cup, it remains part of our environment for generations – littering our streets, clogging our storm drains, backing up our landfills, and eventually winding up in broken pieces in our waterways.”

She said the legislation “not only will have an impact on our environment today, but it will have an impact on our environment for many decades.”

Legislator Nancy Barr, a co-sponsor of the bill and chairwoman of the Environment, Health and Energy Committee, said that last month, Riverkeeper removed 37 tons of litter from the Hudson River in one day, “and a significant portion of that material was foal pieces, foam packaging and foam cups and plates.”