The National Restaurant Association released the following statement responding to Mayor Michael Bloombergs proposal to ban polystyrene foam packaging from New York City restaurants and stores:
“The National Restaurant Association supports increased use of sustainable packaging and would appreciate the opportunity to work with the city on the Mayor’s latest proposal regarding foodservice packaging and restaurants, developing a plan that is feasible for the industry to implement and cost-effective for operators and consumers,” said Scott DeFife, Executive Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs for the National Restaurant Association.
“Across the industry, restaurants are meeting their customers’ desire for more sustainable practices. The Association has been proactively working with our members and supplier partners to educate and innovate in this area, from adopting environmentally friendly packaging, reducing energy and water usage, implementing recycling and composting programs and providing sustainable food items. This past fall we held a first-of-its-kind summit on sustainable packaging with suppliers, focusing on the key barriers to more widespread usage and availability of sustainable products.
“It is important to note that in some cases, a suitable supply of alternatives to polystyrene foam packaging does not exist, or is prohibitively expensive to obtain. This could create a great burden for restaurants, more than 90 percent of which are small businesses, if those concerns are not addressed as the city moves forward. In addition, some alternatives have their own environmental impacts due to the energy and resources required to make them and, in other cases, due to the lack of proper recycling or composting infrastructure. In addition, this is an area where incentives may work better than prohibitions, and there are also energy production alternatives that could be considered.
“We also would like to commend the Mayor on the attention to the food waste issue. The Association has been working with our members and industry partners on this area as well, and there is great potential to reduce landfill volume and increase the composting of organics. While there is significant potential in this area, there are also food safety and other regulatory issues – differentiating the residential and the commercial markets – that must be considered, but we would like to work with the city on this issue as well.”
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 980,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 18-21, 2013, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart, including the National ProStart Invitational April 19-21, 2013, in Baltimore, Md.); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids' menu options. For more information, visit Restaurant.org
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.