BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – In the new year, Styrofoam containers and cups will be a thing of the past, thanks to a statewide ban.

The supply company Chudy Paper Co. in Cheektowaga has been preparing for this ban to go into effect and have been educating their clients, including restaurants, grocery stores and hospitals, on what their best options will be as they move away from Styrofoam products.

“Everyone is used to corrugated here in Buffalo, right? Pizza boxes. They were ahead of their time. You receive your pizza and chicken wings in corrugate already so that’s one good option. The other one are plant-based fibers so they call then bagasse,” Frank Michalski, who’s the CEO of Chudy Paper Co.

Restaurants like Simply Pierogi and Osteria 166 have stayed one step ahead of the statewide ban.
The executive chef at Simply Pierogi says they’ve always used eco-friendly to-go containers.

“We sell a lot of product, everything goes in either paper bags or to-go boxes so it is fantastic that we don’t have to worry about having to switch because of the foam ban,” Chef Ben McBride said.

At Osteria 166, they stopped using Styrofoam once they heard it might be banned.

“We were under the impression that it went into effect right before the pandemic, and then they let it go because of costs, and kind of said we’re not going to enforce that. Then came back and said ok we’re doing it again. So we never really wavered from that. We were on non-Styrofoam for a year and a half, two years,” said Osteria 166 owner Nick Pitillo.

Supply companies say the downside to the ban is it could drive up the cost of take out.

“You’re going from a container that was maybe 13 cents to now up to 80, 90 cents,” said Jaime Ruggiero, who’s the president of Jobena Supply. “I do see a lot of my customers when you do a take out order, there’s a take out button and you’re going to be charged for your take out containers, there will be a small fee.”

“The operators cost, along with general inflation right now, a foam container over a bagasse container, you’re talking, 20, 30 percent more so that’s why your hamburger is going to cost you 30 dollars pretty soon,” Michalski said. “When you order take out operators have to take that expense into consideration.”

Officials from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation say the ban is meant to help reduce litter, pollution and 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.