NYC Restaurants – You Can Still Use Foam Until January 2016

New York City’s ban of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam took effect on July 1, 2015, but restaurant owners and small businesses can still use foam without penalty until January 1, 2016. This six-month grace period affords NYC businesses the opportunity to use foam without fear of being fined.

Additionally, in recognition of the staggering cost of foam alternatives, the foam ban legislation includes a “hardship waiver” that allows nonprofits and small businesses with annual revenues of $500,000 or less to apply for an exemption. This exemption will help the City’s smallest entrepreneurial restaurants and eateries stay in business during economically challenging times.

Although the foam ban comes as bad news for NYC’s restaurant owners, the fight is far from over. Restaurants, recyclers, and foam manufacturers filed a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court in April 2015, challenging the ban due to the circumstances under which the legislation was finalized. The City banned foam after concluding that it is not recyclable, an erroneous conclusion that the foam industry has taken pains to dispute.

Dart Container, the nation’s leading foam manufacturer, has promoted foam recycling since 1990. The company even created foam recycling programs specifically for its customers, called CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) and Recycla-Pak. For more information, go to

“Here’s the truth that the city won’t admit: The City has chosen to landfill  foam instead of recycle it,” said Michael Westerfield from Dart Container. “We will continue to fight the ban, help the City’s small businesses, and work to improve the environment.”

The foam industry and its small business allies will continue to challenge the NYC foam ban in the hopes of restoring this economically-superior and environmentally-responsible product to its leadership position in the restaurant industry. In the meantime, NYC restaurant owners have the rest of 2015 to use foam without consequence.

Foam Bans