Foam Food Containers and Packing Peanuts

As of January 1, 2019, New York City stores, food service businesses, and mobile food commissaries may no longer offer, sell, or possess single-use foam food containers such as:

  • Clamshell containers
  • Cups
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Trays
  • Coolers

Additionally, manufacturers, distributors, and stores may no longer sell or offer for sale loose fill foam packaging ("packing peanuts") in NYC.


  • Foam containers used for prepackaged food that have been filled and sealed prior to receipt by the food service establishment, mobile food commissary, or store.
  • Foam containers used to store raw meat, pork, fish, seafood or poultry, including eggs, sold from a butcher case or similar retail appliance.
  • Foam blocks used as protective packaging in shipping are not covered under this law.

Learn more about Local Law 142 of 2013.

Read the DSNY Determination on the Recyclability of Food-Service Foam.


This ban went into effect January 1, 2019. There was a six-month warning period that ended on June 30, 2019.

Businesses found in violation of the foam ban will receive fines for each Notice of Violation issued within a 12-month period in the following amounts:

  • $150 for the first offense
  • $250 for the second offense
  • $500 for the third and subsequent offenses

Affected businesses should be prepared to receive inspectors, at least annually as part of routine inspections or 311 investigations, from one or more of the following agencies:

Some small businesses may be eligible to apply for temporary hardship exemptions from the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) if they can prove that the purchase of alternative products not composed of foam would create a financial hardship.

Learn more about applying for a polystyrene foam hardship waiver.