WATERTOWN – The state ban on styrofoam containers and “peanut wrappers” begins Saturday.
The New York statewide ban on styrofoam containers and bulk packaging is one of the first in the country.
Expanded polystyrene foam is a major contributor to environmental waste, causing negative impacts on wildlife, waterways and natural resources. EPS foam is lightweight, easily shatters, and does not biodegrade easily, making it persistent in the environment and susceptible to becoming microplastic pollution. Additionally, EPS foam containers and bulk packaging are not accepted by most state recycling programs because the foam is difficult to recycle, easily contaminates the recycling stream, is often soiled, and has low value.
Since January 1, the New York ban has prohibited any person engaged in the sale or distribution of prepared foods or beverages intended for consumption on or outside the premises from selling, offering for sale or to distribute disposable catering containers containing expanded polystyrene foam in the state. In addition, no manufacturer or store will be authorized to sell, offer for sale or distribute bulk polystyrene packaging in the state.
Disposable expanded polystyrene foam foodservice containers prohibited by law include bowls, cartons, hinged “clamshell” containers, cups, lids, plates, trays, or any other product designed or used for temporarily store or transport prepared foods or beverages, including containers generally recognized as being designed for single use. As the ban begins Jan. 1, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation will release final regulations to implement the law in the coming months to help stakeholders comply with the law. law. Draft regulations were released earlier this year.
The following are examples of covered food service providers required to comply with the ban:
– Food service establishments, caterers, temporary catering establishments, mobile catering establishments and rolling carts as defined in the New York State Sanitary Code;
– Retail food stores, as defined in article 28 of the Law on Agriculture and Markets, which include any establishment where food and food products are offered to consumers and intended for off-premises consumption ;
– Delis, grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias and cafes;
– Hospitals, adult care facilities and nursing homes; and
– Primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities.
By law, any establishment, regardless of income, operated by a non-profit corporation or by a federal, state or local government agency that provides food and meals to food insecure people without charge or symbolic, may request a waiver of the requirements of the law. Examples include community meal programs, pantries, and places of worship.