New York City bans single-use foam cups and containers

8 January 2015 (Last Updated January 8th, 2015 18:30)

New York City has banned the use of single-service expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam articles or polystyrene loose fill packaging.

foam cup

New York City has banned the use of single-service expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam articles or polystyrene loose fill packaging.

As of 1 July 2015, food service establishments, stores and manufacturers may not use polystyrene loose fill packaging, such as packing peanuts, or single-use foam items, such as cups, plates, trays or clamshell containers across the city.

The ban was imposed after the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) determined that EPS foam cannot be recycled and there is no market for post-consumer EPS collected in a curbside metal, glass and plastic recycling programme.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said: "These products cause real environmental harm and have no place in New York City.

"We have better options, better alternatives, and if more cities across the country follow our lead and institute similar bans, those alternatives will soon become more plentiful and will cost less.

"By removing nearly 30,000t of EPS waste from our landfills, streets and waterways, today's announcement is a major step towards our goal of a greener, greater New York City."

"Today's announcement is a major step towards our goal of a greener, greater New York City."

During 2014, DSNY collected nearly 28,500t of EPS, of which 90% is from single-use food service products, such as cups, trays and containers.

EPS is already banned in cities across the country, including Washington DC, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Albany and Seattle.

More than 70 cities have banned foam and several large and small businesses have shifted to alternative products that are biodegradable.


Image: During 2014, DSNY collected nearly 28,500t of EPS, of which 90% is from single-use food service products, such as cups, trays and containers. Photo: courtesy of Hispalois.