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New York City's decision to prohibit the use of polystyrene-based food containers was "arbitrary and capricious," and should be struck down, according to New York State Supreme Court Justice Margaret A. Chan on September 21, 2015.
The ruling comes in response to efforts by industry since the ban was first proposed to demonstrate that polystyrene take-out containers are, in fact, recyclable, and that recycling can be done in a cost-effective, efficient manner. Led by the Restaurant Action Alliance, along with major polystyrene manufacturers, the group successfully argued to the Court that polystyrene containers can be recycled, and further demonstrated that a proposed plan by one major polystyrene manufacturer to do so could be exercised and implemented in a timely manner.
In ruling that the polystyrene ban should be struck down, Justice Chan stated that the City had ignored data provided by industry demonstrating that the majority of polystyrene could, in fact, be recycled, and that the City stood to benefit both economically and environmentally from such an arrangement. The ruling further directs New York City's Department of Sanitation to reconsider the recycling proposal in light of one major polystyrene manufacturer's proposal to upgrade sorting and cleaning equipment to facilitate recycling.