Community Alerts

NYC Foam Ban Effective January 1, 2019

Dec 14, 2018

Beginning January 1, 2019, certain expanded polystyrene (EPS) items will be banned from sale, distribution, or use in New York City. For more information, visit nyc.gov/foamban.

Who is affected?

Any business, nonprofit, or agency that sells or uses EPS and is located or operates within any of the five boroughs of NYC, such as food service establishments, mobile food commissaries, stores, and manufacturers and distributors of polystyrene foam packaging.

 

What materials are covered? 

  • Polystyrene from single-service items including cups, bowls, plates, takeout containers, and trays. 
  • Polystyrene loose fill packaging, commonly known as “packing peanuts.”

Exceptions:

  • Expanded polystyrene containers used for prepackaged food that have been filled and sealed prior to receipt by the food service establishment, mobile food commissary, or store. 
  • Expanded polystyrene containers used to store raw meat, pork, fish, seafood or poultry sold from a butcher case or similar retail appliance. 
  • Foam blocks used as protective packaging in shipping are not covered under this law.

 

Hardship Waiver:

Small businesses not part of a chain with less than $500,000 in gross income for the most recent tax year and non-profit corporations may apply for hardship exemptions from the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) if they can prove that the purchase of alternative products not composed of EPS would create undue financial hardship. SBS is currently accepting applications for hardship waivers. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/foamwaiver.

 

Alternatives:

Some examples of alternatives to single-use foam products include aluminum, rigid plastics, uncoated paper, glass, and compostable items. DSNY encourages everyone to explore and use reusable, returnable and/or refillable containers.

Free Resources:

Visit nyc.gov/dsnybusinessresources to access free educational materials, trainings, or site visits. The public can direct any questions to: commercialprograms@dsny.nyc.gov.