Sustainability 101

Regulation Update: D.C. Bans Foam, NY Foam Ban Takes Effect

Update: Sept. 22, 2015Judge strikes down NYC’s foam ban.  The city is exploring its options for reinstituting the ban, including an appeal. We will keep you updated.


New York: NYC’s foam ban takes effect on July 1, 2015.  Businesses will have until January 1 of next year to fully do away with the foam before facing fines.

Washington D.C. will soon join about 100 other cities and towns to ban polystyrene (commonly known as foam or StyrofoamTM) food and beverage containers. Details below:

Effective:  January 1, 2016

Who does it affect: All businesses and organizations that serve food in D.C., such as restaurants, grocery stores, food trucks, delis, and pubs.

Details: The law applies to any food service products designed for one-time use. These include take-out containers, bowls, plates, trays, cups, and other items.  The law does NOT ban the sale of foam containers. DDOE will go door to door from June to Dec to inform businesses about the ban, and will send out informational mailings. Warning letters will be issued to those not in compliance. Business owners will be asked to share tips via the DDOE website.

What you should do: Affected businesses should begin to switch to compliant foam alternatives such as paper-based products. NOTE: When making the switch, keep in mind that you are required to use only compostable or recyclable food service ware by 2017. See this DDOE list of vendors that offer alternative and compliant products.

More information:

Related:

Waste Sleuth Investigates Polystyrene’s Bad Reputation

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