Business Assistance

NYC Ban on Single-use Foam Products

The humble foam cup will soon enter retirement when the New York City ban on all single-use foam products, takes effect on January 1, 2019. 

Mayor de Blasio announced that the City’s ban on single-use foam products will go into effect following the dismissal of a lawsuit preventing the implementation of the ban.

This means that food service establishments, stores, mobile food commissaries and manufacturers may not possess, sell, or offer for use single service Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam food service articles or loose fill packaging, such as “packing peanuts” in New York City beginning in 2019.

The City will work with businesses to ensure they understand the law and help them transition to new materials to replace foam products.

Banned Items

  • Polystyrene foam single-service items including cups, bowls, plates, take-out containers, and trays.
  • Polystyrene loose fill packaging, commonly known as packing peanuts.


  • 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.
  • 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.

Affected Businesses

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.

Small businesses with less than $500,000 in revenue per year and non-profits 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 a financial hardship. SBS will begin accepting applications for hardship waivers in the fall. For more information on applying for a foam waiver, visit


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

Visit to access free educational materials, trainings, and site visits.

Email questions to [email protected].

NYC Ban on Single-use Foam Products


  1. Paul Cobb
    Paul Cobb on 12/09/2018 6:51 a.m.

    Very interested is what the market is introducing as alternatives to EPS Foam. Are consumers embracing the change? Is there a perceived economic impact? What seems to be the replacement trend, paper, non foam recyclable plastics, aluminum, biodegradable, etc?

  2. Danny Ahuja
    Danny Ahuja on 12/09/2018 7:21 p.m.

    I am really happy to see this very useful and informative information according to me...

  3. City Night
    City Night on 12/12/2018 8:30 p.m.

    Thank you for your nice tips! It was really helpful.

  4. Ted
    Ted on 12/21/2018 12:22 p.m.

    This is a big step towards a more sustainable environment. Well done NY for taking the initiative on banning polystyrene products.

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