Cuomo Proposes Statewide Ban on Polystyrene Foam Containers

ALBANY, N.Y. – Governor Cuomo today announced, as part of his 2020 State of the State, that he will propose legislation to enact a statewide ban on polystyrene food and beverage containers, as well as packing peanuts made of polystyrene. Polystyrene foam is a first-class environmental nuisance that cannot be recycled and that quickly breaks into small pieces that litter our streets, playgrounds, parks and beaches. These pieces often find their way into our waterways and oceans, where they can be mistaken for food by wildlife.

NRDC helped lead a coalition that supported the passage of New York City’s ban on polystyrene food and beverage containers. The policy went into effect in January 2019 after a 5-year campaign to block its implementation by the plastics industry.  Since then, implementation of the New York City ban has gone off without a hitch, as food service establishments have transitioned to more environmentally friendly food and beverage containers in place of polystyrene coffee cups and clamshells.

A statement follows from Eric A. Goldstein, Senior Attorney and New York City Environment Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):

“Polystyrene containers have no place in a sustainable world. A statewide ban on polystyrene food and beverage containers will not only significantly reduce waterway pollution and protect wildlife, but also trim our reliance on fossil fuels since polystyrene is made from a petroleum base. We welcome the Governor’s forward-looking proposal and Senator Liz Krueger’s leadership on this issue and urge the Legislature to enact a polystyrene foam ban this coming session.”


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​


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