Dart battles against proposed plastic-foam ban in NY

| 09/12/2013

(CNS): Dart Container Corporation, a company owned by Ken and Robert Dart, is currently involved in a major battle to try and preserve the use of plastic-foam cups and containers in the face of a proposed ban by the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. While the Dart Group is now a major developer and investor in the Cayman Islands, Dart Container, the company that is the backbone of the Dart family’s success, is the world’s largest producer of foam cups and containers. Reports in the international media say that Dart has offered to buy the used containers at $160 per ton to recycle the material, despite the well documented problems surrounding reusing foam products.

Bloomberg introduced a bill earlier this year to ban foam food containers across New York City because of its impact on landfills and the difficulties associated with recycling expanded polystyrene containers that are soiled with grease or food.

Dart, however, has said it can recycle it. In an effort to head off the ban, which could be devastating to the company given the size of the New York market, Dart has offered top dollar for the used goods and hopes the money will be enough to persuade Bloomberg to re-think the ban.

Residents will need to separate the dirty foam containers from foam used for packaging and the city will still have to collect it, but Dart has offered to clean and truck it to a recycling plant in Indiana.

US press reports say that the discussion about recycling formed part of a committee on sanitation and solid waste management last month in the city. Under the original proposal the ban would take effect next July but it could be stopped if the city’s deputy sanitation commissioner finds the recycling is a real possibility.

However, several US cities have already opted for a ban, including Portland, San Francisco and Seattle, and gradually restaurants are moving away from the use of plasitc-foam containers, including McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts, both of which plan to stop using it.

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Comments (22)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Is this the same Dart that is a major sponsor of the "Cayman BECOME" Go Green initiative that's trying to eliminate plastic bags? If so, Who on the BECOME committee accepted his money? Shame on you for the sellout. That's like having Pablo Escobar fund the Just Say No to Drugs campaign.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Did any of the candidates who advocated moving the dump to Bodden Town report any funds from Dart in their election returns?

    I saw this in the New York Times:

    Dart has spent $120,000 lobbying the City Council and the Bloomberg administration, according to city lobbying disclosures. The American Chemistry Council has formed the Restaurant Action Alliance, a group of restaurant owners, and given the group more than $800,000 to fund its activities, including letters to City Council members asking them to oppose the ban. And Ariane Dart, the wife of one of the company’s owners, has given $38,525 to the campaign accounts of several candidates this year, including Bill de Blasio; William C. Thompson Jr., whom Mr. de Blasio defeated in the Democratic primary for mayor; Letitia James, the councilwoman who was just elected public advocate; and several council members.

    • Anonymously says:

      His contributions are not as effective as those in Cayman, wasted funds, in Cayman it would have gotten him Knighthood, in the USA it will probably get him an investigation.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Not surprising it has taken a ban on this product for manufacturers to wake up and rethink. It seems we are constantly fighting to protect the planet we all inhabit. Witness whaling, clear cutting rain forests, oil and plastic pollution in oceans, carbon emissions. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the WTO and various governments are gung ho on expanding free trade while our planet goes for a $hit. The conclusion is we have to be proactive. We can not depend on our so-called regulatory agencies or governments to wake up in time.

  4. Anonymous says:

    We in the Cayman Islands need to fight the use of non-bio-degradeable garbage products, and a good place to start would be at the Customs Duty level. Raise the duty on non-bio-degradeable products that WE KNOW will end up in the garbage heap, like food and drink containers, and lower the duty on bio-degradeable products (e.g. paper containers, plates and cups) that will also end up in the heap, but at least we know they will be broken down and less harmful to our environment.

    The restaurants use the foam and plastic products because they are cheaper, not because they are better for our environment. If we make the bio-degradeable products more attractive financially, we will see the restaurants and all turning more to those bio-degradeable products.

    I already use paper as much as I can, and I have conversations with restaurant owners about using them too, but more often than not they say it comes down to economics and trying to keep their food and drink prices reasonable. Government can get the BIG Ball rolling on this matter by adjusting the duty rates on these substitute products.

    If we do it, we will start winning on the landfill side too.

    • Just the facts please says:

      It would be great to see some people here do some research first. The paper industry is rife with compalints about contaminating the enviroment during the production, do not think for one moment that the paper that some people think is of no harm to the delicate ecosystem here have not educated themselves to the facts. Most paper these days is laced with chemicals and toxic print ink. Yes foam does not degrade over a short period of time but it does not contaminate eithe, dont confuse bulk with contaimination.

    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent suggestions.

    • Castor says:

      There are 50 year old news papers being dug up in landfills all over. Just because it is paper doesn't mean it is automatically biodegradable. Landfills need to be properly operated to deal with this and that is something Cayman doesn't seeem to be able to get its' head around.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said 09.21. Now could the Royal "we" and perhaps start a campaign or pressure group to achieve same?

  5. Cow Itchs says:

    Let me be the first tosay – I don't support contuning use of foam – we should strive to use recycled materials or materials that are biodegraedable.  It's no longer the 90's and the planet has enough waste to deal with as it is.  Change your business model, Dart.

    • noname says:

      I no longer eat at Fosters deli as a result of their crappy leaky food containers. Bring back the styrofoam! 

  6. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if Bloomberg is going to be like the past Premier?  See what happened in the Cayman Islands, happen in the USA.  They are not going to lie down and play dead and Mr. Dart have his way.  He will have to follow the rules in his own country, there will be no bias.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Time for Cayman to follow ?

  8. Old News says:

     

    $160.00 a Ton and forcing a city of 8.3 million residents to separate them?  Na we’ll pass.

    Cayman Islands why do you think the Dart boys are so active in your country and the rest of the Caribbean? As evidenced in the article they are quickly losing their market share in the biggest fast food market in the world, the good Ol USA.  Styrofoam (Dow Chemical Company) and Dart Plastic Containers are slowly going the way of the Dodo bird due to the inevitable and unstoppable green movement.  If Dow Chemical lost 1.1 Billion in 2012 you better believe the Dart boys are feeling it too.  They could care less about the problems they are passing on the general public especially in the USA, much less mother Earth.  But then when you bite the hands of a nation that have been feeding your family for decades, people eventually wise up and seek better alternatives. Gotta add quite the legacy Mr. Bloomberg is leaving behind.  He was a good Mayor for cleaning up the trash.

    Now go clean up that Pacific Ocean boys, there is a worthwhile project for ya!

  9. Anonymous says:

    The Dart Corporation will find away around this if NY bans his containers there is always China and India with a much bigger population.  

  10. Red Solo Cup says:

    As convenient as they are (they can keep Miss Virginia’s red bean soup piping hot all the way to North Side) foam containers should be banned.

    A walk along any beach is evidence enough of the ecological disaster they represent.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Maybe Dart wanted to buy the dump to get all of his styrofoam back.

  12. Hope is on its way says:

    They  should be ban here also considering our landfill issue.  I always wondered if food that are warmed in microwaves in these styrofoam or plastic containers, would this not create carcinogens that potentially cause medical issues if one was to eat out every day? 

    CNS is there any truth to this?

  13. Anonymous says:

    God bless him. He is only trying to help people.  If only those New Yorkers knew what analtruistic sole he was, they would love him like we do. He keeps their food hot and waterproof and this is the thanks he gets. I suspect those 4 ladies from west bay been doing some witch work.