New York City Has Officially Banned Foam Takeout Containers

iStock.com/Warren_Price
iStock.com/Warren_Price

New York City introduced a bill in 2018 that aims to ban plastic straws, and this year the city has set its sights on eliminating another environmental scourge: single-use foam containers.

As Grub Street reports, a foam ban went into effect on January 1, but businesses have until June 30 to comply. Beginning July 1, 2019, any businesses caught using the to-go containers will be fined. The law applies not only to takeout containers, but also to foam coffee cups, bowls, and plates as well as packing peanuts.

City officials initially approved the so-called "Foam Ban" in 2013, citing environmental concerns. However, as The New York Times points out, the containers are often incorrectly labeled as Styrofoam—a trademarked product made by Dow Chemical that isn’t used in disposable food containers.

More specifically, the containers are made of a type of plastic foam that’s not biodegradable and also notoriously hard to recycle. New York City's ban went into effect in July 2015, but a judge overturned it three months later, after the restaurant industry banded together and sued the city. The restaurant coalition argued the city could recycle the material and even save money by doing so. Of course, there were other motivating factors: Alternatives to plastic foam food containers are more expensive.

The legal battle continued into 2017, when another judged ruled in favor of the city and said the ban could be reenacted. However, the government is making special exceptions for nonprofit organizations and small business owners who can demonstrate that the ban would significantly hurt their operations. Also exempted are butcher shops, which use the foam containers for raw meat.

Meanwhile, a similar foam ban just took effect in the city of Rockville, Maryland. Dozens of other cities have banned the material, including Washington, DC, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. As for the proposed plastic straw ban in New York City: whether the city will follow the example set by Seattle and other cities remains to be seen.

[h/t Grub Street]

Dream Job Alert: You Can Live and Work in Yellowstone National Park This Fall

iStock/haveseen
iStock/haveseen

Geysers. Charismatic wildlife. Camping. A supervolcano. Yellowstone National Park is home to so many things to see and do that you’d practically have to be embedded there to experience it all. Now, some will have a unique opportunity to live and work on the grounds this fall.

For the past year, the Helping Hands program at the park has recruited applicants to stay at one of the Yellowstone National Park lodges run by the Xanterra Travel Collection. The program offers part-time, short-term park jobs for people seeking to explore Yellowstone in greater depth. Workers spend about 20 hours a week working food service, housekeeping, and other duties and are able to stay in low-cost dorm-style accommodations. Meals are provided for a small biweekly fee. The rooms don’t have many amenities—there’s no television and Wi-Fi is slow—but you certainly won't be at a loss for things to do.

The five-week program begins for two groups on September 5 and 12 and lasts through October 15. In addition to lodging, workers also receive a $10.10 hourly wage. You can submit an application at the Yellowstone National Park Lodges website.

Make Shopping Easier With This Super-Light Reusable Bag

Nanobag 3.0
Nanobag 3.0

With the current state of our environment being what it is, it's vital to try to reuse, reduce, and recycle as much as possible. Every year, people consume billions of plastic bags, leading to tons of unnecessary waste. Many consumers have made the switch to reusable bags, but they're often not the sturdiest nor most attractive method of portage.

The Nanobag 3.0, which is now raising money on Kickstarter, claims to be a comfortable, easy-to-fold, high-quality bag that can reduce the number of single-use plastic bags needed per year. This super-soft sack can easily fit into the smallest of places, like the watch pocket in your jeans.

Putting a bag into the watch pocket of jeans
Nanobag 3.0

Weighing just 0.7 ounces, the Nanobag 3.0 is made of water- and dirt-repellant rip-stop fabric. You can carry about 66 pounds of goods in its 18-liter capacity, and the bag's reinforced handles work to distribute the weight evenly on your shoulder or arm. Attached to the bag is a small pouch that can carry keys or a small wallet, so you can have all your essentials in one place.

For each bag sold, one tree will be planted with the Eden Reforestation Projects, a non-profit organization that restores forests and reduces poverty in developing nations.

With over a month left in its campaign, the Nanobag 3.0 has already exceeded its goal of $3,831, raising over $73,000 as of June 17. By pledging $10 or more, you can get your own ultra-light and ultra-strong reusable bag on Kickstarter. Shipping is scheduled for December.

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