NYC Says EPS Foam Not Recyclable, Announces Largest Ban in Nation

Yesterday, officials in New York City announced that expanded polystyrene (eps) foam packaging, made from a material commonly called Styrofoam, will be banned from distribution or sale starting July 1.

This is the largest eps ban in the nation.

“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,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “By removing nearly 30,000 tons 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 city adopted legislation in late 2013 to ban foam food containers unless they were "economically feasible" and "environmentally effective" to recycle. Dart, a manufacturer of foam based food packaging, lobbied hard against the passage of the legislation and urged for more recycling instead.

In the end, New York City confirmed what we've already seen in California. Styrofoam recycling is not cost effective, and the material comes with many issues because it is lightweight and can be contaminated by food and oils.

Learn more about the problem of polystyrene packaging.

Take a stand against the plastic industry, which is trying to overturn the California Bag Ban. Learn more about the campaign.