From the NY Times:
In its last scheduled legislative session of the year, the New York City Council passed major health and environmental regulations on Thursday, establishing a ban on plastic-foam food service containers, extending the city’s ban on public smoking to cover e-cigarettes and requiring composting at large restaurants.
The plastic-foam measure was a final victory of sorts for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, though it came with a caveat. In his State of the City address this year, Mr. Bloomberg said the plastic-foam containers were virtually impossible to recycle, and environmentalists have long complained that the foam cups, trays and containers, stained by beverages, grease and food, were needlessly clogging landfills.
In response to concerns that small businesses would be hurt by switching to costlier alternatives like paper and plastic, the bill allows small establishments and nonprofit organizations to apply for a waiver from the ban.
E-cigarettes, which use a battery to vaporize a nicotine solution, have grown in popularity based on a perception that they are a safer alternative to regular cigarettes, but the health implications remain in question. The bill limiting their use, pushed by two departing council members, James F. Gennaro of Queens and Speaker Christine C. Quinn of Manhattan, bans e-cigarettes wherever smoking is now prohibited, including restaurants, bars, parks and office buildings. The Bloomberg administration supported the measure.
Proponents cited the potential, if not yet fully known, health effects of e-cigarettes and their secondhand vapor, and said e-cigarettes confused bartenders and others who had to enforce the existing ban.