Polystyrene Foam Ban Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the City of Portland banning polystyrene foam packaging? 

  • There isn’t an economically feasible way to recycle polystyrene foam packaging in our area 
  • When introduced to the environment polystyrene foam breaks into smaller non-biodegradable pieces that harm/kill marine life and other wildlife 
  • Alternatives to Polystyrene are readily available 

What packaging products are made from polystyrene foam? 

  • Polystyrene foam, also known (incorrectly) as Styrofoam®, is often used to make cups, bowls, plates, trays, clamshell containers, meat trays and egg cartons. 

Who does this ordinance affect? 

  • Food Packagers: Anyone within Portland who places meat, eggs, bakery products, or other food in packaging materials for the purpose of retail sale of those products 
  • Establishments preparing food: Restaurants, cafeterias, food trucks, convenience stores, shops, grocery stores, delicatessens or other vendors located within Portland offering prepared food for retail sale. 

What does this mean to affected establishments? 

  • No food packager or retail establishment in Portland shall serve or sell prepared food and no food packager shall package meat, eggs, bakery products or other food in polystyrene foam containers. 
  • The City of Portland shall not use, purchase or otherwise acquire polystyrene foam food or beverage containers.
  •  Parties who contract with the City shall not use polystyrene food or beverage containers at any city facility or on projects within the City that are funded (in whole or in part) by the City. 
  • Retailers may not offer polystyrene foam products such as cups, plates, trays or coolers for sale. 

Are there any exemptions? 

  • The sale and packaging of raw seafood is exempt from this ordinance. Cooked seafood is not exempt. 

What happens if the ordinance is violated? 

  • A fine not exceeding $250 for first violation in a one year period 
  • A fine not exceeding $500 for the second and each subsequent violation in a one year period 

When does this ordinance go into effect? 

  • April 15,2015