Village approves ban on plastic foam cups, containers

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PATCHOGUE -

The village of Patchogue has approved a new ban on plastic foam cups and containers, marking the first ban of its kind in the state.

Under the ban, restaurants and delis won't be able to carry plastic foam cups or food containers unless they are biodegradable or recyclable.

"A place like Patchogue -- we're a waterfront community," says Mayor Paul Pontieri. "Styrofoam takes over 500 years to biodegrade and when it breaks down in the water, the fish ingest and digest it and it's an environmental disaster."

There are also health concerns. "Whenever you have hot liquids in a Styrofoam cup or even a plate, it really dissolves toxic chemicals into the food and the drink," says environmentalist Adrienne Esposito, of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

Some business owners aren't happy, assuming that it will be more expensive. But others have already switched to more eco-friendly options, like fiberboard containers.

"This is a very progressive neighborhood, Patchogue is always very forethinking," says John Hesse, of the restaurant That Meetball Place.

The change begins on Sept. 4, giving businesses time to use up their current supply of Styrofoam cups and containers before they're off limits.

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