WNY restaurants to raise food prices after statewide Styrofoam ban goes into effect

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — New York state has officially closed the lid on Styrofoam products.

A statewide ban on Styrofoam went into effect on Jan. 1, forcing restaurants, Like Mooney’s on Military Road to invest more in its take-out containers. Owner Christopher McCann says they went from spending 13 cents per take-out container, to now spending 89 cents.

“Over a year we do over 150,000 mac and cheese to go, that’s $114,000 if you want to add it up and understand the hit that restaurants are taking,” McCann said. “I don’t want people to think restaurants are nickel and diming people because we’re not, we’re just trying to survive right now.”

Yankee BBQ in Hamburg relies on take-out orders. Restaurant owner Brian Nagy says a take-out container that would’ve cost 22 cents, will cost 10 cents more.

“That just adds up,” he said. “When customers leave with four or five of them, I mean just do the math on that, that’s a lot of money going out the door.”

Between the pandemic, rise in food costs and now the Styrofoam ban, Nagy says he, unfortunately, will have to increase the menu prices.

“It’s tough to justify charging the customer more money, and then you have to hope that they come back too. But yea we definitely are going to be raising our prices,” he said. “It’s cutting into profits in an industry where our profits are razor-thin already.”

At Niagara Cafe in Buffalo, co-owner Maria Hernandez says they’ve been preparing for the ban for several months but are still trying to find an eco-friendly product that works for them.

“Styrofoam was an excellent product but of course, it’s doing damage,” she said.

Officials from the New York State Department of environmental conservation say the Styrofoam ban reduces litter and pollution and will help the environment.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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