Styrofoam could go way of hidden calorie counts, trans fats

Posted at: 09/06/2013 3:26 PM
Updated at: 09/06/2013 8:21 PM
By: Abigail Bleck

ALBANY -- You won't find Styrofoam at any of the Capital District's many Stewart's Shops.  It's a decision the Saratoga-based convenience store company made on its own ahead of proposed legislation.

"We do realize the importance of being environmentally friendly and serving our customers...It's a really simple way of doing that," explained Stewart's spokeswoman Maria D'Amelia.

If a bill making its way through the Albany County Legislature passes, any establishment with 15 locations or more would no longer be permitted to use Styrofoam takeout containers. 

Tess Collins of McGeary's in Albany, which isn't a chain or affected by the proposed legislation, still opposes the law.

"I have issues with outside forces coming into our businesses and telling us what we should be doing," she said.

There is a pretty significant cost difference between paper and Polystyrene products.  One thousand, 10 oz. paper cups at a local restaurant supply store costs $35.  The same size and count in Styroforam is just under $22.

"The cost would have to be passed along," added Collins.

Even with a price increase, supporters believe there would be savings -- at the landfill.  An estimated 20 percent of the Albany County dump is filled with Styrofoam containers.

"If we eliminated Styrofoam, which is not compostable or biodegradable, it will shrink our landfill," explained Doug Bullock, an Albany County legislator who helped to introduce the plan.

The bill is currently being considered in committee and will likely face a full vote by the County Legislature in October.