D.C. Styrofoam Ban for C-Stores Starts January 1

Compliance checks on foodservice retailers begin next month, and fines take effect July 1.

December 23, 2020

WASHINGTON—District of Columbia convenience stores and food retailers will no longer be able sell food or merchandise in foam containers or use foam packing materials starting January 1 or face fines for noncompliance.

The D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) will begin inspecting businesses for compliance in January, and fines of up to $800 will be issued for violations starting July 1. The foam ban is part of an effort to restore District waterbodies for residents to enjoy and to provide a healthy habitat for fish and wildlife, the agency said. Foam is not recyclable and is one of the most common types of litter found in the Anacostia River.

The new regulations are an amendment to the District’s existing Foam Ban of 2016, which prohibited restaurants and other food-serving institutions from using disposable foam food ware. Extending the foam ban to retail sales is expected to further reduce the availability and consumption of foam in the District, leading to waterways that are cleaner, safer and healthier for humans and wildlife, the agency said. Retailers can get more information from doee.dc.gov/foam.

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