The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos reminds New Yorkers that the State’s ban on expanded polystyrene foam containers and ‘packing peanuts’ began Jan. 1, 2022. While an estimated 65% of New Yorkers are living in communities that have already banned polystyrene, New York’s statewide ban on polystyrene foam containers and loose fill packaging is among the first in the nation. DEC and partners continue outreach efforts to advise affected entities about the ban, particularly sellers and distributors of disposable food service containers, such as retail food stores, restaurants, hospitals, and schools.

“Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers already live in communities that are ‘foam free,’” Commissioner Seggos said.  “New York City and Long Island are seeing the benefits of their foam bans with reduced litter on their landscapes and waterways. Now the rest of the State is poised to reap the benefits of a cleaner environment. DEC continues to focus on outreach to educate affected entities, but we know the foam ban will work and we look forward to less waste in our landfills in 2022.”

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam is a major contributor to environmental litter, causing negative impacts to wildlife, waterways, and natural resources. EPS foam is lightweight, breaks apart easily, and does not readily biodegrade, rendering it persistent in the environment and susceptible to becoming microplastic pollution. In addition, EPS foam containers and loose fill packaging are not accepted by most recycling programs in New York State because the foam is difficult to recycle, easily contaminates the recycling stream, is often soiled, and has low value.

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Author: NYSDEC, The Chronicle Express
Image: Spencer Platt Getty Images, The Chronicle Express