Several Hudson Valley restaurants are breaking the law and could face serious fines.

A ban of polystyrene packaging went into effect in the Hudson Valley and all of New York State on January 1. The law specifically states that businesses can no longer use styrofoam containers for to-go or delivery orders in New York State.

Apparently, several restaurants in the Hudson Valley failed to get the memo and are still using styrofoam containers.

This weekend our family decided to order wings while we watched football. When the delivery arrived we were surprised to see that the food was packaged in five different styrofoam containers. Clearly in violation of the styrofoam ban, we were shocked and disappointed in the local business for not abiding by the new law.

Sadly, this isn't the first time we've received styrofoam since the ban went into effect. A couple of weeks ago, a popular Mexican restaurant included styrofoam containers in our order to hold the salsa and other side orders.

According to the DEC, styrofoam is only allowed to be used for holding raw meats found in grocery stores and prepackaged foods from an out-of-state manufacturer.

There are exceptions for non-profits and smaller companies, but I don't believe any of the restaurants I've received styrofoam from fall into those categories. The DEC says that businesses making less than $500,000 a year, aren't part of a franchise, and operate less than ten locations in New York are able to apply for a waiver.

By the price of the wings I purchased and the fact that they were so busy I had to wait almost two hours for delivery, I highly doubt this restaurant falls into that category.

The DEC says that they will be enforcing huge fines on local restaurants that don't comply with the styrofoam ban but will let businesses off with a warning first. It's unclear if these local restaurants have been caught yet, but it's only a matter of time.

When the plastic bag ban went into effect in 2020, many local businesses were still using them after they became illegal. Confusion over the law led to a few months of a grace period. Eventually, everyone complied and plastic bags have become eradicated at most local stores.

Hopefully the same will happen with styrofoam containers as local businesses learn to comply over the coming weeks.

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