A state court has denied a petition to overturn a New York City ban on the use of expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) containers, finding the city’s determination “was a painstakingly studied decision and was in no way rendered arbitrarily or capriciously.” In re Application of Rest. Action All. v. City of New York, No. 100731/2015 (N.Y. Super. Ct., New York Cty., entered June 5, 2018). In 2015, the same court vacated and annulled findings by the city commissioner of sanitation in support of the ban because of “shortfalls” in the findings, remanding the matter for reconsideration. “This time,” the court said, “the Commissioner’s findings are based on reviews of petitioners’ evidence and on [the sanitation department’s] further studies and research.”

Among the city’s findings, the court said, were (i) a 30-year history of “failure of subsidized markets of foam recyclers”; (ii) the lack of market for post-consumer recycled foam, particularly soiled foodservice foam; (iii) that because of breakage, only about seven percent of EPS ended up in correct bales during recycling; (iv) that EPS is the leading plastic pollutant in New York City waterways; and (v) that the majority of foam recyclers process only “clean” EPS.

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