The new year means no more plastic foam coffee cups, takeout containers, or packing peanuts in most places in the nation's largest city.

New York City's long-planned ban took effect Tuesday.

The prohibition includes food containers and loose packing fill made from what's known as expanded polystyrene. Exceptions include butcher-counter containers for raw meat.

City lawmakers approved the ban in 2013, but a lawsuit from the restaurant industry held it off for years. A judge ruled this past June that it could go forward.

City officials say the containers clog up landfills and pose other environmental problems.

Dozens of communities around the country have enacted some form of plastic foam ban in recent years.

Manufacturers and the restaurant industry argued it was feasible to recycle the items, and argued that many small business owners depend on the cost-effective foam.


The city has said that nonprofits and small business that bring in less than $500,000 in revenue a year can apply for exemptions if they can prove that buying alternative polystyrene containers and products would significantly harm their finances.

The city is giving businesses until the summer to get rid of any stock. The city is slated to start issuing tickets July 1.

Fines will be as high as $1,000 for each offense.