US Senator Angus King is cosponsoring new legislation to eliminate single-use expanded polystyrene (EPS), commonly known as plastic foam, in food service products across the country.

The Farewell to Foam Act is set to come into force in January 2026. The bicameral legislation will require food service providers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to replace their EPS products such as loose packaging with sustainable alternative materials.

The act authorises the US Environmental Protection Agency to fine establishments that violate the EPS prohibition during one calendar year.

Companies will receive a fine of $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second, and $1,000 for the third and subsequent violations.

However, service providers and retailers with less than $1m of annual revenue and manufacturers and distributors with annual revenue below $5m can only be fined once during any seven-day period.

The bill will not include EPS material used for medical, industrial, or safety purposes.

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EPS materials are said to be one of the most harmful forms of single-use plastic, with links to central nervous system damage and increased risk of cancer. They are also difficult to recycle.

King said: “As anyone who’s been on riverbanks or the coast can tell you, pollution in our waters is on the rise – threatening public health, economic security, and the future of our planet.

“The Farewell to Foam Act would phase out harmful foam food containers and single-use foam storage bins to protect our families and friends from ingesting these dangerous microplastics that have negative impacts on human health.

“We need bold action to tackle this global crisis, and this bill is a common-sense step we can take to reduce our dependence on this particularly harmful form of plastic.”

The legislation is being cosponsored by fellow US Senators Chris Van Hollen, Ed Markey, Richard Blumenthal, and others.