The following is taken from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/120762.html on 1/2/2022. Please visit that link for the most up to date information on this subject.
In 2020, New York State adopted the nation's strongest statewide ban of expanded polystyrene, single-use foam food and beverage containers, and polystyrene loose fill packaging materials, commonly known as packing peanuts.
Polystyrene foam is a concern for people and the environment. Foam packaging is one of the top contributors of environmental litter, causing negative impacts to wildlife, waterways, and other natural resources, as well as littering our communities and natural areas. It is lightweight, breaks apart easily, and does not readily biodegrade. When polystyrene foam ends up as litter in the environment, it can persist for a long time and may also become microplastic pollution. In addition, foam containers and loose fill packaging, such as packing peanuts, are not accepted in most recycling programs in New York State because the foam is difficult to recycle and has a low value. For these reasons, certain expanded polystyrene foam products will be banned in New York to protect the environment, our communities, and to support sustainable materials management.
Under the Expanded Polystyrene Foam Container and Polystyrene Loose Fill Packaging Ban, (link leaves DEC's website) effective January 1, 2022, 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.
A covered food service provider is any person engaged in the business of selling or distributing prepared food or beverages for on-premises or off-premises consumption.
Examples of covered food service providers include:
In addition to covered food service providers, no store (retail or wholesale) will be allowed to sell, offer for sale, or distribute disposable food service containers or loose fill packaging that contains expanded polystyrene foam, in New York state. This includes any non-food retail or wholesale establishment.
No person, firm, or corporation that produces or imports expanded polystyrene loose fill packaging will be allowed to sell, offer for sale, or distribute expanded polystyrene loose fill packaging in New York state.
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:
Please e-mail email@example.com with questions about how the statewide ban may affect local laws, ordinances, and regulations or for information about filing a written declaration with DEC.
Under the Expanded Polystyrene Foam Container and Loose Fill Packaging Ban, disposable food service containers and loose fill packaging that contain expanded polystyrene foam will be banned. Any alternative may be used, as long as the alternative food/ beverage container or packaging product does not contain expanded polystyrene foam. DEC encourages the use of reusable, recyclable, and compostable items, source reduction and items made using recycled content where possible.
Covered food service providers and facilities that meet certain criteria may apply for a renewable 12-month financial hardship waiver of these requirements from DEC.
Any facility, regardless of its income, operated by a not-for-profit corporation or by a federal, state, or local government agency that provides food and meals to food insecure individuals at no or nominal charge, may request a financial hardship waiver of the requirements of the law.
Covered food service providers that may also request a hardship waiver must meet the following criteria:
Hardship waivers may be granted for one or more disposable food service containers to a covered food service provider that demonstrates that there is no alternative product of comparable cost that is not composed of expanded polystyrene foam, and the purchase or use of an alternative product would create an undue financial hardship.
DEC is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations as necessary to implement the provisions of the new law.
Please check back to this webpage or sign up with the link below to receive updates regarding regulations.
These educational resources about NY's Foam Ban are available for download.
Alternative Container and Packaging Guidance (The following links leave DEC's website)
PFAS Packaging Guidance (The following links leave DEC's website)
Effective December 31, 2022, the prohibition on PFAS in food packaging (ECL Article 37, Title 2) will ban the distribution and sale, in New York, of food packaging that contains intentionally added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Under this law, the term "intentionally added" means that the chemical "serves an intended function in the product component,", and, therefore, includes such chemicals as water-proofing or grease-proofing agents. This restriction applies to food packaging intended for direct food contact that is comprised mainly of paper, paperboard, or other materials originally derived from plant fibers. And further, under the definitions of this law, the term "package" includes items such as carrying cases, crates, cups, pails, trays, wrappers, bags and tubs.
As such, purchasers should avoid paper, paperboard, or molded fiber food packaging where PFAS has been added to provide water-proofing, grease-proofing, or other functions. The best source of information on whether food packaging contains intentionally-added PFAS is likely to be the packaging manufacturer or supplier.
For Schools (The following link leaves DEC's website)
Waste Reduction (The following link leaves DEC's website)
For Residents (The following links leave DEC's website)
Recycle Right NY Recyclopedia - how to recycle takeout containers and packing materials
Please check back to this page in the coming months for additional helpful resources.
More information will be available on this page in the coming months. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for immediate questions.
To get the latest information, sign up to receive Expanded Polystyrene Foam Container and Loose Fill Packaging Ban information. When you sign up, you can expect to receive information on the following (depending on your interest):