Companies call for postponement of state foam ban

As Jason Packer strolled through Hill & Markes’ huge warehouse, the CEO could only find about a month’s stock of styrofoam products.

“We’re working really hard to run out of our foam stock right now,” Packer said.

Montgomery County wholesale distributor is preparing to transition from foam to environmentally friendly and recyclable products. Indeed, the ban on single-use foam containers for food and drink comes into effect on January 1.

However, there is one problem that Packer ran into: getting enough green and recyclable containers, which he blamed on supply chain issues. Due to the shortage, he says businesses that need these containers could face problems in 2022.

“Our concern is that our customers can have the products they need to be able to serve their customers,” Packer said.

He and other business owners have raised their concerns with the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce. Last month, House Speaker Michael Bittel wrote a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul, requesting a one-year delay for the ban to take effect.

“Our local community wants to do the right thing,” Bittel said. “Our local restaurants aim to respect the environment. We just need to get in the way.

Bittel said pushing the ban to begin in 2023 would allow companies to use up their leftover polystyrene containers while having more time until environmentally friendly products become available.

He said what they are trying to avoid is not being able to use the old product while waiting for the new supply to arrive.

“Either we’re going to go straight to the landfill with these and not use them, our goal is to use them,” Bittel said.

A financial hardship waiver may be granted by the state Department of Environmental Conservation if certain criteria are met. This includes community meal programs, pantries, churches or with an annual gross income of less than $ 500,000 per location.

Packer says he’s in favor of the ban, but just needs a little more time until supplies resume.

“We believe that over the next six to 12 months there will be a significant change in the supply chain, which means there will be more people in the workforce. The traffic jams in the ports will be cleaned up, ”Packer said. “This will allow us to have a complete supply chain.”

Lee J. Murillo