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State Supreme Court Justice Jack Cannavo on Wednesday stayed a Suffolk County law that would have banned retail food stores from packaging food in polystyrene or polyvinyl plastic containers.

He ruled the County Legislature failed to comply with state environmental law when it approved the measure last year and must file a complete environmental impact statement, which normally takes three months. The law would prohibit use of plastic grocery bags and coffee cups, as well as eating utensils and fast-food containers, made from either of the two plastics, to keep them out of garbage landfills and incinerators.

The Society of the Plastics Industry and manufacturers of plastic food packaging filed suit, arguing that paper products posed a greater environmental threat than the plastic items they would replace. They said that paper products dumped in landfills were a potential source of ground water pollution as they decomposed.

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