Foam food container ban will lead to higher prices for customers, package distributing company owner predicts

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In just four days, New York State’s ban on foam food packaging containers, which many people refer to as "styrofoam" will go into effect and many restaurants will have to switch to more eco-friendly materials for your take-out orders and leftovers.

While many restaurants have long switched to plastic containers so you may not see much of a difference there. For some restaurants, it’s a different story.

Patrick Moussignac talked to David Scalen, owner and co-founder of Regional Distributors Incorporated, a Rochester-based package distributing company, to find out what this ban will mean for customers.

Regional Distributors Incorporated sells foam containers to thousands of different customers throughout Western New York.

Scalen said the ban is yet another challenge restaurants must face as they continue to struggle with both labor shortages and increased health and safety requirements during the pandemic. Scalen said restaurants will be forced to spend more on alternative packaging products once the ban goes into effect, leaving customers to pick up the tab.

"I think you’re going to see prices rise," Scalen said. "I mean the only way the restaurants can really keep up and stay in business is to raise their prices to their end-users."

The ban does not apply to raw meat, seafood or poultry sold for cooking purposes or prepackaged food filled or sealed prior to checking out.

Any facility that is operated by a not-for-profit that provides food and meals to low-income people may request a financial hardship waiver, regardless of income.