Styrofoam Ban In East Hampton Town Coming

An empty styrofoam coffee cup lying on the ground.

“We can’t make it into anything else,” East Hampton Town Board member Sylvia Overby said last week about Styrofoam.

Overby is crafting an amendment to the Town Code that would ban most uses of Styrofoam in the town. She addressed fellow board members about the proposed code change October 16. A couple of days later, she spoke to The Independent about the new law.

It is modeled after legislation passed in East Hampton Village earlier this year, which itself was based on a law passed in Patchogue. The new legislation amends the already passed law banning the use of plastic bags by businesses, adding polystyrene foam, better known as Styrofoam, to the banned list. “Most of the polystyrene foam that ends up in landfills will be there 500 years from now,” the preamble to the amendment reads. “Polystyrene foam can also be very toxic when burned.”

Overby recalled the ban on plastic bags which was passed in late 2014. “There was some opposition, more from the industry itself,” she said. “Not from local businesses. There were local businesses that were concerned that they already had a stock of plastic bags,” she said. Businesses were given almost nine months to comply.

This is the perfect time of year to pass the ban, Overby said, since affected businesses will have many months to plan for the change before next season.

The law will not affect the use by butchers of polystyrene trays to pack cut meats. That use of polystyrene will be exempt. However, the sale of polystyrene coolers and packing peanuts will be banned in the Town of East Hampton.

Also prohibited will be the use of all disposable cups, plates, and lids made of polystyrene and designed to be thrown away after one use. The new law is already on paper, and likely will soon be scheduled for a public hearing.

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