The Patchogue Village Board on Monday night voted to ban the use of Styrofoam in local businesses — with the law going into effect this September.
“The day after Labor Day,” said Village Trustee Joseph Keyes, who spearheaded the environmental protection measure. “It’ll be in effect around the same time we banned plastic bags in 2016,” he said.
Attendees in Village Hall responded with a cheerful round of applause.
But the question that remains for many is, is the ban going to make a difference?
After all, Patchogue is only one village.
Mayor Paul Pontieri says Patchogue is an influential village in Suffolk County and Long Island, and its actions could spur others to follow suit.
“It’s the right thing to do,” he said Monday night. “We’ve just got to start someplace; it’ll start here.”
Local businesses that regularly use Styrofoam products now have roughly seven months to rid their inventories and stock up on other products such as paper bags, re-usable plastic, aluminum takeout dishes, and biodegradable cardboard containers, according to Keyes.
Although most Styrofoam products are now banned, there are exceptions, such as prepackaged products containing food items like raw meat sold at the grocery store.
Egg cartons, and electronic packaging are also exempt. Of course, the packaging choices of outside companies cannot be controlled by the village.
“But we do have control over what we sell, and what we serve in Patchogue, especially in our local restaurants,” said Pontieri.
Residents that spoke in favor of the measure included Shahzad Rana.
“Our wetlands look beautiful until you get up close,” she said. “Polystyrene is a principal litter on Long Island wetlands, and it is indigestible by marine life. I am completely supportive of the ban.”
Another resident, Kaitlynn Jackson, added, “As someone who lives and works in the village and continually participates in river and beach cleanups.
“I see an undeniable value in banning the use of Styrofoam.”
File Photo: Looking down East Main Street in Patchogue Village.