New York City implements ban on polystyrene foam containers and packaging

2 July 2015 (Last Updated July 2nd, 2015 18:30)

The US city of New York is implementing ban on the usage of single-service expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam articles or polystyrene loose fill packaging.

The US city of New York is implementing ban on the usage of single-service, expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam articles or polystyrene loose fill packaging.

Announced in January, the law requires food service establishments, stores and manufacturers to stop using polystyrene loose fill packaging in items such as peanuts, or single-use foam items such as cups, plates, trays or clamshell containers across the city.

The companies will have a six-month grace period to comply before fines can be imposed.

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

During the first year of the ban, businesses will be issued warning instead of fines.

Non-profit organisations and small-scale ventures generating less than $500,000 in annual revenues can urge for hardship exemptions from the New York Department of Small Business Services.

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 expanded polystyrene waste from our landfills, streets and waterways, today's announcement is a major step towards our goal of a greener, greater New York City."

The ban was imposed after the Department of Sanitation of New York (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.

Last year, DSNY collected nearly 28,500t of EPS, 90% of which is from single-use food service products.

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