Foam Packaging Law

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calle colombia - 82nd STBeginning in July 2015, certain expanded polystyrene (EPS) items will be banned from sale, distribution, or use in NYC. This provision includes a grace period lasting from July 1, 2015 until January 1, 2016. Following the grace period, Notices of Violation will be issued and civil action may be taken.


1. Polystyrene foam single-service items including cups, bowls, plates, takeout containers, and trays.
2. Polystyrene loose fill packaging, commonly known as packing peanuts.


1. 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.
2. Expanded polystyrene containers used to store raw meat, pork, fish, seafood or poultry sold from a butcher case or similar retail appliance.

Note: Foam blocks used as protective packaging in shipping are not covered under this law.


This ban affects any business that sells or uses EPS and is located or operates within any of the 5 boroughs of New York City.


  • Effective July 1, 2015, do not sell or use any banned items as described above.
  • To apply for a Hardship Waiver –
    Details: Nonprofits and small businesses (not part of a chain) with less than $500,000 in revenue per year 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 will begin accepting applications for hardship waivers in the summer of 2015.


There are many alternative packaging options available including paper, plastic, aluminum, and biodegradable products. Contact your packaging distributor about alternatives to foam products.

For more information visit or
The official notice from the NYC Department of Sanitation is available in various languages here.