BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – New York State has officially closed the lid on Styrofoam products.
A statewide ban on styrofoam went into effect on January 1, forcing restaurants, like Mooney’s on Military Road, to invest more in its take-out containers. Owner Christopher McCann says they’ve gone from 13 cents per takeout container to 89 cents now.
“Over a year we make over 150,000 macaroni and cheese to go, that’s $ 114,000 if you want to add it up and understand the success restaurants are taking,” McCann said. “I don’t want people to think restaurants are Nickles and dark people because they aren’t, we’re just trying to survive right now.”
Yankee BBQ in Hamburg relies on take out orders. Restaurant owner Brian Nagy says a takeout that cost 22 cents will cost 10 cents more.
“It adds up,” he said. “When customers leave with four or five of them, I mean, do the math, that’s a lot of money going out the door. “
Between the pandemic, rising food prices and now the polystyrene ban, Nagy says he will unfortunately have to increase menu prices.
“It’s hard to justify charging the customer more money, and then you have to hope that they come back too. But yes, we will definitely increase our prices, ”he said. “It reduces profits in an industry where our profits are already very slim. “
At the Niagara Cafe in Buffalo, co-owner Maria Hernandez says they’ve been preparing for the ban for several months, but still trying to find an eco-friendly product that works for them.
“Styrofoam was a great product, but of course it does damage,” she said.
Officials from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation say the styrofoam ban reduces waste and pollution and will help the environment.
Sarah Minkewicz is a journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.