Starting June 1st, Washington businesses will not be able to use or offer styrofoam containers. The law, banning the distribution of expanded polystyrene containers was approved in 2021. The first part of the law went into effect of June 2023, banning foam packing peanuts. The styrofoam ban includes:

• Coolers
• Cups
• Trays
• Bowls
• And clamshell packaging used for prepared food

According to the Department of Ecology:

Expanded polystyrene materials are difficult to recycle, and it’s expensive. They aren’t accepted in most of Washington’s residential recycling programs and are treated instead as a contaminant. Because they are not readily recyclable, the materials end up in landfills, waste-to-energy facilities, or the environment.

The ban only applies to the sale or distribution of styrofoam, NOT its use.

What if you still have a foam cooler lying around, can you use it?

Absolutely! You can use whatever styrofoam items you already have. The ban does NOT apply to what your are using currently. However, restaurants and stores with an existing inventory of styrofoam will have to stop distributug it. Customers are encouraged to let the Department of Ecology know if a business is still using EPS products.


Businesses not in compliance of the foam ban will be given resources and instructions on alternatives to styrofoam. Violating the ban could lead to a $250 fine, or up to $1,000 for repeated violations.

What items are NOT included in the ban?

Egg cartons, styrofoam blocks, and packaging for raw meat, fish produce, drugs, or medical devices are exempt from the ban. You can read more here.

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