City 'Styrofoam' ban beginning on Jan. 1

Source: Queens Chronicle

City 'Styrofoam' ban beginning on Jan. 1

Substance banned for food, beverages, packaging


Posted: January 2, 2019
Originally Published: December 27, 2018

New York City’s long-fought battle over single-use expanded polystyrene products, best known in the vernacular as “Styrofoam,” officially will end on Jan 1 when a citywide ban goes into effect.

Under the new laws, food service establishments, stores and manufacturers no longer can sell or offer EPF products for food sales or packaging, whether it be a cup for coffee, a “clamshell” container for a takeout food or foam packing peanuts used to ship and transport fragile objects.

The law was passed this past summer after a study determined that the material could not be easily recycled.

Some small businesses had opposed the move based on potential cost increases. But the city’s Department of Small Business Services has been accepting hardship waiver applications since July from nonprofits and small businesses with less than $500,000 in annual revenue.

The applications are available online at

A spokeswoman for the city Department of Sanitation told the Chronicle in an email that anyone who may have received a gift or other package containing foam packaging material and who wants to get rid of it may do so by “discarding them as garbage on their regular collection days.”

Employees at two delis visited by the Chronicle this week declined to comment or have their photographs taken.

Sandwiches sold in both places were wrapped in white paper, foil or both. Other foods were packaged in aluminum containers with lids of either clear plastic or cardboard.

Coffee and tea at each deli and a pair of Dunkin’ Donuts shops were served in paper cups, though the lids were plastic.

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, on Wednesday called the coming implementation a victory for both the environment and public health.

“New York City residents will be healthier, because people microwave food in those containers, drink from those containers which allow toxins to leech into their food,” Esposito said.

She said it was her organization’s hope that the New York City ban will attract the attention of Gov. Cuomo, the leadership of the state Assembly and the new Democratic leadership of the state Senate when the 2019 session convenes in Albany next week.

“New York City has sent a loud message across the bow of the New York State Legislature,” Esposito said.