New York as well as a number of cities in California will be introducing a ban on Polystyrene foam packaging from July 2015 in an attempt to reduce non-recyclable packaging waste.

The ban is also aimed at reducing the harm expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging does to the environment with 30,000 tons of the material currently being dealt with on landfill sites, city streets and waterways in New York alone. Much of the waste comes from city fast food outlets and reflects a commitment by city authorities to a greener future.

Alternatives to EPS packaging are now widely available and people in New York responsible for limiting environmentally harmful waste are keen to impose a ban while at the same time allowing businesses to find alternative types of packaging material for their food. Many of these alternatives will actually cost companies less which should ensure that most businesses will be exploring options well in advance of the ban.

The DSNY collected around 28,500 tons of EPS in 2014 of which 90% came from single-use food service products. While most businesses will be given just six months to find different packaging materials for their products there will be exemptions. Small businesses and nonprofits will in some cases be able to apply for hardship exemptions.