New York City outlaws Styrofoam food containers

NEW YORK - New York has banned the use of plastic foam food and beverage containers in restaurants and coffee shops, the city said Thursday.

“These products cause real environmental harm and have no place in New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, calling on other U.S. cities to follow suit.

The ban will take effect July 1.

"[Polystyrene] is a major source of neighborhood litter and hazardous to marine life," the mayor's office said in a statement.

Foamed polystyrene, commonly known by the brand name Styrofoam, is a major industrial polymer made into food containers such as beverage cups, egg cartons and disposable plates and trays.

The material is widely used across the world owing to its ability to retain heat and good water-vapor transmission.

But environmentalists argue that the material takes years to break down and often ends up in landfills and oceans.

More than 70 U.S. cities have already banned Styrofoam, including Washington, San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle.

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