FROM JULY 2015, food service establishments and manufacturers may not possess, sell, or offer single-use expanded polystyrene (EPS) products in New York City.
Expanded polystyrene is a plastic resin manufactured into consumer products such as foam cups, containers, trays, plates and egg cartons.
Approximately 28,500 tons of expanded polystyrene was collected in 2014 and New York’s Department of Sanitation estimates that approximately 90% of this was from single-use food service products like cups, trays and containers.
With no current recycling programme for EPS in place, the City Council considered a recycling strategy that would have incorporated EPS into the current metal, glass, plastic & carton collection regime. It was determined that EPS foam cannot be recycled in an environmentally and economically feasible way, which led to the ban of all types of single-use foam items.
Mayor Bill de Blasio comments on the positive environmental implications this ban will have on New York: “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.
De Blasio adds: “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.”