Recycling EPS: The Rest of the Story on New York City Ban of Airpop® EPS Containers

As many know, Airpop® EPS has superior insulating and protection properties to alternative materials and serves as a very important material in our everyday lives. A common misconception is Airpop® EPS cannot be recycled. In contrast, recycling Airpop® EPS has been occurring for over 25 years.

New York City moves forward and enacts an Airpop® EPS ban. A recent article, “New York City Has Banned Plastic-Foam Containers” on shares the news that sheds a negative light on our industry.

New York City announced and implemented the ban on all Airpop® EPS single-use containers. Store and restaurant owners will no longer be able to use Airpop® EPS in their stores; packing peanuts have also been banned. It was stated in the article that “Single-use form products cannot be recycled in a manner that is economically feasible, environmentally effective and safe for employees as part of the City’s curbside recycling program.” As a result of this ban, financial hardship is expected to occur for restaurant owners.

“According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, polystyrene foam foodservice products constitute less than 1% by both weight and volume of our country’s municipal solid waste. In fact, all paper and plastic single-use packaging items—including foam—make up only 1.4 percent of municipal solid waste, and more paper cups end up in landfills than EPS foam items.” You can learn more about this by visiting

In the article, “New York City Has Banned Plastic-Foam Containers”  there was a comment that really stood out to us. It stated, “Also problematic is the fact that polystyrene often ends up in marine environments, where it gets gobbled up by animals, causing blocked digestive systems and, ultimately, starvation.” We can’t help to argue…if the general population was more educated on how to best recycle post-consumer products, would the risk to our wildlife decline? Is it truly plastic-foam containers and packing peanuts that are an issue or is it our naive society unable to accept responsibility for their own actions?

While we did research of our own, we found this article and these statistics:

This image shares astonishing facts about trash items collected in 2017; it points out foam take-out containers (Airpop® EPS) had the least amount of the trash collected. While the number is still fairly high, we hope it will improve over the future years to come.

As industry leaders, we all need to do our part in helping the environment and educate on Airpop® EPS recycling practices.  We still have a long way to go in our education practices, but we’ll get there one recycled Airpop® EPS item at a time!