Starting January 1, 2019, New York City stores and food-service businesses stopped offering, selling or possessing single-use foam food containers such as foam takeout clamshells, cups, plates, bowls and trays. Additionally, manufacturers and stores were prohibited from selling or offering for sale loose fill packaging (“packing peanuts”) in the city. This law was enacted because single-use foam items were found to be not recyclable. These items are collected as trash in the city. There are many recyclable alternative packaging options including paper, plastic, aluminum and compostable products. There is currently a six-month grace period before fines will be imposed. The Department of Sanitation and other city agencies have worked to conduct outreach and educate affected business throughout the five boroughs. Small businesses with less than $500,000 in gross income for the most recent tax year and non-profits may apply for hardship exemptions from the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) if they can prove that the purchase of alternative products not composed of EPS would create a financial hardship. For more information, visit