Foam Container Ban Begins in New Year

December 06, 2021
Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, restaurants, delis, grocery stores, cafeterias, coffee shops, and other food service providers will no longer be able to use polystyrene foam containers in NYS.

Under the Expanded Polystyrene Foam Container and Polystyrene Loose Fill Packaging Ban, no covered food service provider or store (retail or wholesale) will be allowed to sell, offer for sale, or distribute disposable food service containers that contain expanded polystyrene foam in New York. In addition, no manufacturer or store will be allowed to sell, offer for sale, or distribute polystyrene loose fill packaging (commonly referred to as packing peanuts) in the state.

According to the Dept. of Environmental Conservation website, “disposable food service containers made of expanded polystyrene that will be banned under the law include bowls, cartons, hinged ‘clamshell’ containers, cups, lids, plates, trays, or any other product designed or used to temporarily store or transport prepared foods or beverages, and includes any container generally recognized as designed for single use. Polystyrene loose fill packaging (commonly referred to as packing peanuts) will also be banned under the law.

This law does NOT apply to:
  • Raw meat, pork, seafood, poultry, or fish sold for the purpose of cooking or preparing off-premises by the customer;
  • Prepackaged food filled or sealed prior to receipt at a covered food service provider;
  • Food service containers made from rigid polystyrene resin that has not been expanded, extruded, or foamed (e.g., clear plastic containers marked with a #6 resin identifier);
  • A city with a population of one million or more which has a local polystyrene ban in place, including New York City; and
  • Any county that enacts a polystyrene ban by local law, ordinance, or regulation that provides environmental protection equal to or greater than the state law and the county files a written declaration with DEC. All other local laws are preempted by state law.