If you do takeout, buy food at a deli, or order out from your favorite Hudson Valley restaurant, things will be changing on January 1.

For months, the DEC has been warning businesses and restaurants about a new law that will go into effect for the new year. Now, as we approach January 1, it's finally becoming a reality.

Last year New York State passed one of the nation's most strict laws banning the use of styrofoam containers. The law will essentially make many of the food containers and packing materials we use every day illegal.

The law prohibits any person or business from "selling, offering for sale, or distributing disposable food service containers that contain expanded polystyrene foam in New York."  In addition, it will also be against the law to "sell, offer for sale, or distribute polystyrene loose fill packaging in the state."

This means that everything from those styrofoam clamshell food containers to packing peanuts will disappear from the state. While the current plastic bag law has certain loopholes that allow smaller businesses to still use them, the styrofoam ban isn't as forgiving. The following business will be forced to discontinue all use of the soon-to-be banned items.

  • Foodservice establishments, caterers, temporary food service establishments, mobile food service establishments, and pushcarts
  • Retail food stores, including any establishment where food and food products are offered to the consumer and intended for off-premises consumption
  • Delis, grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias, and coffee shops
    Hospitals, adult care facilities, and nursing homes
    Elementary and secondary schools, colleges, and universities

Some small businesses will be allowed to file for a hardship waiver if they meet certain criteria. Details on the program are available on the DEC's website.

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