GENCO: polystyrene, water bottles and compost | Opinion

January 1 brought in the implementation of a ban on offshore polystyrene containers in New York State. Styrofoam is the brand name.

Over the weekend my wife and I ordered the Golden Pho on Pine Avenue in Niagara Falls. Our dinner came in foam containers.

Oddly enough, our household waste of plastic, whether from grocery store packaging or takeout containers, is more than half.

I stopped by Molinaro in Lockport on Tuesday hoping to speak to Mike who was unfortunately unavailable. However, the woman working the counter said Italian restaurant Lockport had switched away from foaming long ago.

I also stopped at Como on Pine Avenue in the Falls for gnocchi and meatball, not the healthiest but delicious lunch. It came in a compostable clamshell shape, albeit with plastic silverware.

At a restaurant near the Buffalo airport a few weeks ago, our server assured us that the owner had stocked the now prohibited containers knowing that such establishments would be able to use the supplies available.

At Donatello’s on Third Street in Niagara Falls, owner Steve Fournier laments the price increases associated with the change. He was paying about $15 for what now costs $89 as he considered his options.

β€œI will have to charge an extra fee to make up for it,” he said. β€œIt would have been better if they came up with something to replace it. It’s like telling a kid he can’t have a pacifier and then giving him nothing to replace it.”

Meanwhile, the next pest of the green movement falls into the radiator next to the Fournier log. A modest single use water bottle.

You can walk anywhere and they are everywhere, and they are dumped along the canal and on the shores of Lake Ontario and along the Niagara River.

Could a plastic bottle ban be next?

“I don’t expect that to happen,” Fournier said. “They earn a lot on the nickel.”

The whole discussion brings me back to the little green habits we can all benefit from. For example, choose a refillable water bottle.

Here’s another one: compost at home. I once had a large compost bin made of metal fence posts and chicken wire.

I’ve tried a litter compost system at home that we’ve been enjoying for the past eight months, but it’s still a work in progress.

It also bothers me that Niagara Falls has no little brush next to the fall leaves and no fertilizer available to gardeners in the spring. Several surrounding municipalities share this compost including Amherst and North Tonawanda.

Lockport offers vital solids to the public, as well as wood chips. “Biosolids” is a fancy term for treated wastewater sludge that meets EPA standards for application on land but not food production. As much as I strive to be green, I don’t think I can give up on that.

Lockport also offers free wood chips if self-loading.

For brush, Lockport picks up yard waste during the third full week of the month, from April through September. For larger branches, residents stack those on the curb.

Niagara Falls has no such eco-friendly program.

The city that brought the world the Love Canal is throwing its mattress in the landfill even 12 years after the left-leaning Democratic Mayor, Paul Dister, has been replaced by another Democrat in Mayor Bob Restino. He told me late last year that the Department of Public Works was considering composting leaves for public distribution. The city manager said earlier this week that it was too early to talk more about that.

Contact regional news editor Joe Jinko at 716-282-2311, ext. 2250, or


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.