When I was a kid, you could come to New York City and buy a big soda in a large styrofoam cup. (You could also get murdered a lot more easily or score some drugs or afford a place in Soho, but that’s not my point here.) Big soda kept cool in a nice big cup — paradise, in its way.
Last year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided that the big soda had to go. And this year, according to reports, he’s got his eyes on that cup. From Bloomberg (the media company, not the mayor for whom the company is named) (New York is a complicated place) (the city, not the state from which the city is named):
In his final State of the City address today, the third-term mayor will attempt to cement his legacy as a leader who made the most-populous U.S. city healthier and more environmentally friendly. His office previewed portions of the speech that focused on three initiatives intended to boost air quality, recycling rates and sustainability.
A requirement that 20 percent of all newly constructed public parking spaces be outfitted to charge electric vehicles would create 10,000 such spots within seven years. The plan would need City Council approval. A pilot program to collect curbside food waste from Staten Island homes to use as compost for parks would expand citywide if successful, cutting down on the 1.2 million tons of scraps sent to landfills each year.
(Apparently the city could use more charging stations.)
These are significant initiatives but, as suggested above, it’s the mayor’s proposed ban on Styrofoam cups and containers that’s gotten much of the attention. It fits nicely with the image of Bloomberg as anti-fast-food, but he will note that it’s actually anti-trash. As the Bloomberg article notes, New Yorkers throw away 20,000 tons of plastic foam a year. While the city’s garbage production is in decline, that’s still a lot of waste.
Bloomberg gave his State of the City address on a stage at Brooklyn’s new, leaky Barclays Center under sports-arena-appropriate banners celebrating his accomplishments. “419: Record Low in Homicides in 2012.” “52 Million: Record Visitors in 2012.” And one he’s put specific focus on: “80.9: Record High Life Expectancy.”
Not listed: “7 million: Fewer pounds of garbage a day.” Perhaps because he’s waiting for that number to improve a little more.