Plastic ban and styrofoam ban

Release time:2023-10-20 Number of views: 122

Bans on the use of styrofoam containers, plastic bags and plastic straws in food service are becoming more common in states across the country. Restaurants rely heavily on single-use takeout items for their takeout and delivery services, so it's important to be aware of current and upcoming bans that could affect your business. Read on to find out if your state has a plastic ban and styrofoam ban, and check out our recommendations for environmentally friendly packaging alternatives.


This page was updated as of October 20, 2023, but may not constitute the latest legal information. Because these laws change periodically, readers of this website should familiarize themselves with applicable state laws and restrictions.

1. Plastic bag ban

Different types of legislation have been passed at the state, city and county levels regarding the distribution of single-use plastic bags. Some restrictions ban all plastic bags altogether, some simply tax them, and some ban them based on their thickness (measured in millimeters). Please contact your local government for the latest information on the plastic bag ban in your area.

Which states ban plastic bags?

If you live in one of the following states, be aware that your business is affected by statewide legislation regarding plastic bags:



Colorado (effective January 2024)



Hawaii (All local jurisdictions ban plastic bags)


New Jersey

New York

Oregon (affects retail and Food services only)

Rhode Island (effective January 2024)


Virginia (affects state agencies, colleges, and universities only)



If you don't see your state on this list, you should still check your area's plastic bag ordinance. Many states, such as Alaska and New Mexico, have passed legislation in at least one city or county.

Plastic bag alternatives

If you are looking for an alternative to single-use plastic bags, there are many options.


Biodegradable plastic bags - Eco-friendly alternatives to traditional plastic bags, designed to break down naturally into harmless compounds, reducing environmental pollution and promoting sustainable practices.

Paper bags - Replace plastic bags with paper bags for takeout orders, retail purchases, and groceries.

Reusable bags - Reusable bags are considered the most environmentally friendly method of packing goods.

Food boxes - try not carrying bags at all and instead use large takeout boxes with handles to pack smaller items.


2. Polystyrene foam ban

If your business offers takeout and delivery services, you may be familiar with styrofoam. This widely used material is lightweight and disposable, making it a staple for food trucks, delivery chains, and restaurants. The recent ban on styrofoam, or foamed polystyrene, prohibits restaurants from serving food or drinks in styrofoam containers. Read on to find out if your city is affected by the recent ban.

Styrofoam with polystyrene

Polystyrene foam is a trade name used by the Dow Chemical Company to describe its closed cell extruded polystyrene foam. It is often used interchangeably with the term "expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam". Styrofoam and EPS foam are commonly used in takeout containers, disposable cutlery, and coffee cups.

Can styrofoam be recycled?

Yes, polystyrene foam can be recycled at designated recycling centers. The problem is that there are very few recycling centers across the country that accept and recycle polystyrene foam. If you're not sure if the product is made of styrofoam, look for the recyclable symbol with the number "6" on it.


Recycling centers that accept No. 6 plastic typically require the product to be clean and dry when it arrives at the plant. Unfortunately, most styrofoam products in the United States are placed in landfills where styrofoam does not decompose.

Which states ban styrofoam containers?

The following states have passed statewide legislation regarding expanded polystyrene products:


Colorado (effective January 2024)



New Jersey

New York


Virginia (already effective July 2023 for large businesses and July 2025 for small businesses)

Washington (The packaged peanut ban went into effect in June 2023; Coolers and food service product bans go into effect in June 2024)

Washington, DC


If you don't see your state on this list, you should still check your area's polystyrene regulations. Some states, such as California and Hawaii, have passed legislation in at least one city or county.

Styrofoam alternatives

If you live in an area currently affected by the styrofoam ban, there are plenty of alternatives to keep your delivery service running smoothly. Learn about these eco-friendly alternatives or start shopping for eco-friendly takeout containers.


Fully biodegradable tableware - Made from organic materials that naturally decompose, providing a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic or disposable items, thereby reducing environmental impact.

PET plastic - Containers made from PET plastic (polyethylene terephthalate) are flexible, lightweight and recyclable. Many beverage bottles are made of PET because it is transparent and does not break easily. You can also find PET deli containers that are perfect for packing takeaway foods such as soups, salads, and side dishes.

PLA plastic - PLA plastic (polylactic acid) is unique in that it is made from renewable resources such as sugar cane, cornstarch or sugar beets. Try using PLA plastic cups instead of polystyrene foam to-go cups.

Paper/Double-sided Polyester Coated paper - Double-layer polyester coated products combine an environmentally friendly paper structure with a moisture-resistant coating. Some coated products do contain permanent chemicals called PFAS, so look for the "No PFAS added" label when purchasing.

Plant fiber - Plant fiber disposable products are light in weight and can be composted commercially in appropriate processing facilities. Use liquid resistant and microwave-ready plant fiber disposables to pack delivery and takeout orders.

Post-consumer cardboard - Have you ever wondered where the paper in the recycling bin ends up? The materials used to make post-consumer cardboard products come from recycled paper fibers.

Reusable Polypropylene containers - Take-out containers made from recyclable polypropylene have a durable synthetic resin construction that is ideal for multiple use applications.


3. Plastic straw ban

The plastic straw ban started in Massachusetts in 2015, but it didn't make mainstream news until 2018, when Seattle became the largest US city to enact a straw ban. Supporters of a ban on plastic straws argue that single-use straws would have a negative impact on the environment, but those who oppose a ban on plastic straws argue that more expensive alternatives would hurt their businesses' profits.

Which states ban plastic straws?

These states have passed statewide legislation regarding single-use straw distribution:



New Jersey



Virginia (affects state agencies, colleges, and universities only)

Washington (Disposable straws available on request only)

Washington, DC


If you don't see your state on this list, you should still check your area's plastic straw regulations. Some states, such as Florida and Georgia, have passed legislation in at least one city or county.

Plastic straw alternatives

If your business currently operates in one of the affected states mentioned above, it may be time to give up plastic straws. Thankfully, there are many eco-friendly straw alternatives you can use instead of plastic.


PLA Plastic straws - Recyclable straws made from PLA look like plastic, but they can be composted in the right facilities and under the right conditions.

PHA (polyhydroxyfatty acid ester) - PHA is a bio-based material that can be composted at home, which makes it different from other compostable materials. Straws made from PHA look and feel like plastic, but are more sustainable.

Paper straws - Festive paper straws are a colorful choice for catering events or special occasions and are easy to break down after use.

Reusable straws - Not only can these straws be cleaned and reused, but they also offer upsell opportunities. Try offering environmentally friendly reusable straws as an add-on to your drink menu.

Food straws - Food straws are a fun choice for cold drinks like smoothies, milkshakes, and cocktails. They are made from edible materials that break down easily, which makes them a great alternative to plastic straws.


When running a food service business, it is important to be aware of possible legislative actions that could affect your operating costs. Styrofoam and plastic are both an important part of take-out and delivery services, so it was imperative to find an environmentally friendly option that would comply with regulations without impacting profits.

The Best Eco-Friendly Plastic Products

Okay, so you've thought about all of the above, and now you want some bags that meet high standards for the environment and can reduce your carbon footprint (if handled properly). We've got you covered.


Henan Techuang Biotechnology Co.,Ltd, the leading biodegradable resin and plastic bag manufacturer in China.

We are the largest producer of biodegradable products in China, with a total engineering area of 1000 acres and an annual production capacity of 120,000 tons. Our team comprises 150 highly skilled technical workers and research professionals.

Our flagship products include

Fully biodegradable modified resin

Fully biodegradable plastic bags

Fully biodegradable tableware and food container

LE/HDPE plastic bags


One-Stop Service

Finished product

Raw material


Technical/Service support

We are committed to pioneering high-quality biodegradable solutions that promote environmental sustainability. With our advanced technology and dedicated workforce, we strive to lead the industry in providing eco-friendly alternatives for a greener future.

Thank you for your interest in our company and products. We welcome any inquiries and look forward to collaborating with you on environmentally responsible solutions.

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