The polystyrene or plastic foam used in take-out food establishments, disposable coolers, and packing peanuts, will soon see its last day in the Village of East Hampton.
The Village Board of Trustees enacted a ban of the foam, which is better known by its trademarked name, Styrofoam, at its meeting last Friday, dovetailing a similar ban of plastic bags the board passed in 2011.
Businesses will not be able to offer or sell the foam under the ban, though pre-packaged items such as food sold in supermarkets would be exempt from the ban. Ban violators could face a fine of up to $1000.
Mayor Paul Rickenbach noted other municipalities, such as the Village of Patchogue, have passed similar legislation to help protect the environment, and the village wished to follow suit by reducing its own carbon footprint.
“Sunday is Earth Day and this is our gift to everyone,” said Rickenbach, making reference to the annual celebration that promotes environmental consciousness.
In other village news, the board of trustees set two public hearings, including one to take comment on a proposal to allow take-out food stores.
Village officials realized there is a demand for local stores that can provide take-out food and beverages, and that requirements can be imposed to reduce the likelihood of litter or garbage on the streets according to the proposed legislation.
The proposed legislation allows retail take-out food stores, or restaurants without table service or a seating area. However, the store must have an adequate number of waste receptacles on site in the areas near the exits, inside and outside, and they must be emptied regularly.
The second public hearing will take comment on a proposal to authorize a tax levy over the limit established by general municipal law. The board will be allowed to override the tax levy limit when it sets a budget later this year, due to a section of general municipal law allowing the trustees to do so with the approval of 60 percent, or three board members. The village’s fiscal year begins August 1.
Both public hearings were set for May 18 and will be called after the start of the board of trustees’ meeting at 11 AM.