Styrofoam packaging will be a thing of the past in Nassau County after lawmakers voted to approve a proposed polystyrene ban.
The bill makes it illegal to sell or distribute Styrofoam products. Fines for violating the policy would lead to fines between $500 and $2,500, which would be enforced by the county’s Department of Consumer Affairs and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.
The bill passed unanimously, 19-0, and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran is expected to sign it into law in short order.
“The Nassau County Legislature has voted unanimously to approve a ban on the sale of polystyrene foam containers,” she said in a statement. “This is an important move towards protecting our environment and preserving our oceans, parks, and marine life. I look forward to signing this bill into law.”
The ban comes on the heels of similar legislation that was passed in Suffolk County last month and New York City earlier this year. Fines collected by the county will be put in a fund dedicated to environmental investigations and the cleanup of county-owned properties.
There are some exemptions to the legislation. Food items that contain fresh produce, uncooked eggs, or raw proteins can still be packaged in styrofoam.
According to the EPA, polystyrene is the fifth-largest pollutant in the country, and often ends up in waterways, and takes many years to decompose. The World Health Organization has also called it a carcinogen.
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