Mayor Bloomberg’s Styrofoam Ban Proposal Belongs in the Recycling Bin

An Outright Ban on Styrofoam Food-Service Containers Almost Makes His Illegal Soda Ban Look Sensible by Comparison

New York, NY / Washington, D.C. – New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg already has his sights on the next reckless ban: styrofoam cups and containers.

If the mayor gets his way, New Yorkers will be paying more, and actually harming the environment, says the National Center for Public Policy Research.

In an op-ed in Wednesday’s New York Post, the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Jeff Stier writes that Mayor Bloomberg is “already working on another arbitrary and capricious meddling with our cups – not the size, but what they’re made of.”

“The mayor made this ban a centerpiece of his State of the City speech last month; apparently, he sees it as one of the most pressing issues facing New Yorkers,” Stier adds.

In the piece, Stier explains that “Styrofoam cups and other containers are convenient and efficient packages that keep hot food hot, cold food cold, and help keep costs down.”

Yet, according to the New York City-based Stier, a prominent critic of the Mayor’s efforts to ban products New Yorkers sometimes enjoy, “A fundamental reason so many New Yorkers disliked [the soda ban] so strongly was that we trust ourselves to make responsible decisions — at least more than we trust City Hall to do it for us.”

Stier explains that “the same goes for using styrofoam. It might not always be the right choice, but every product has pros and cons. Just try carrying hot soup in a paper cup. You’ll need multiple cups.”

And if you care about the environment, says Stier, you should oppose this ban. “Those multiple cup alternatives have environmental costs. In fact, one study found that replacing a foam cup with a single paper one could require a dozen times more water for production,” Stier writes in the Post.

Does Nanny Bloomberg know best? “Styrofoam cups are simply more efficient — which is why so many vendors and their consumers prefer them some of the time,” explains Stier.

In the piece, Stier writes, “One thing that is frequently recycled is the myth that styrofoam can’t be recycled. It already is; smaller cities across the country have been doing it for years. New York City can find ways to do it too if it must.”

Explains Stier, “Recycling styrofoam is simple. Clean it, grind it, heat it and turn it into pellets that can be used for a Bloomberg favorite, ‘green buildings.’ Recycled Styrofoam is an effective and inexpensive insulation and can be shaped into anything for a variety of uses.”

Earlier this week, policy experts, including New York City resident Jeff Stier, director of the Risk Analysis Division at the National Center for Public Policy Research; Julie Gunlock, director of Women for Food Freedom of the Independent Women’s Forum; and Angela Logomasini, Senior Fellow of the Center for Energy and Environment of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, sent a letter to New York City Council members encouraging them to consider the unintended consequences of Mayor Bloomberg’s styrofoam ban. The letter is available online.

Stier, Gunlock and Logomasini also will critique so-called “nanny state” initiatives on a panel at the national conservative CPAC conference in Maryland on Friday, March 15 sponsored by the Independent Women’s Forum. The panel, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love Plastic Water Bottles, Fracking, Genetically Modified Food and Big Gulps,” will also feature Jillian Kay Melchior of the Franklin Center and be moderated by Sabrina Schaeffer of the Independent Women’s Forum.

Stier, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, is an expert on how the nanny state is undermining the credibility of the public health community. Among his many articles: “The Happy Meal Ban Flops” for National Review Online, “Obama Healthcare: Government, Heal Thyself” for the Los Angeles Times and “Regulating Junk Food Advertising” for

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank with over 100,000 recent supporters. It receives about one percent of its revenue from corporations and no support from government. Contributions to it are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.