Legislative Looks

As your partner in all things compostable packaging, World Centric and our Sustainability Team are also here to help you navigate the landscape of foodware legislation in the United States.

The map below show states that have current and upcoming legislation. 


California

California has 6 pieces of statewide legislation:

California became the first state to enact legislation imposing a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at large retail stores, and requires a 10-cent minimum charge for recycled paper bags, reusable plastic bags, and compostable bags at certain locations.

Sustainable foodservice packaging for CA State owned or operated buildings: CA SB1335 has led to the creation of a sustainable packaging database managed by CalRecycle, which includes third-party certified and PFAS-free molded fiber packaging. This means state-owned facilities like universities, the public school system, correctional facilities, airports, etc., can only purchase packaging on this list. Find approved products in the purchasing guide here.

Skip The Stuff Law: CA AB 1276 prohibits food facilities and third-party food platforms from providing single-use foodware accessories (i.e. cutlery, chopsticks, straws, etc.) or condiments to a customer, unless requested. The bill also specifically bans bundling or packaging accessories.


Considered the toughest bill on plastics to date, SB 54 requires 100% of packaging to be recyclable or compostable by 2032 and packaging makers help pay for the cost of recycling and composting packaging waste.


Assembly Bill (AB) 1200 bans all plant fiber-based food packaging containing PFASs that are either intentionally added or present at levels exceeding 100 parts per million of total fluorine, beginning January 1, 2023.


CA SB 343 restricts how marketers can use environmental marketing claims on packaging. The legislation also restricts the chasing arrows symbol for resin codes. Per the bill, compostable consumer products need to be PFAS-free, be labeled in a manner that distinguishes them from non compostable products, and compostable plastics meet ASTM standards D6400 or D6868.


Colorado

Colorado has 4 pieces of statewide legislation:

According to the bill, single-use plastic and paper bags will have a 10-cent fee starting in 2023. Starting in 2024, single-use plastic bags and expanded polystyrene containers will be banned.



The EPR bill HB22-1355, and was one of the first to have composters well-represented through its development. Through dues, packaging and printed paper producers will help finance statewide recycling and composting.



CO SB23-253 requires product labeling for compostable packaging sold in CO. Starting July 1, 2024 all products labeled compostable must be certified by a third-party and clearly labeled as “compostable.” Products must also use GREEN-COLORED LABELING OR STRIPING OR OTHER EASILY RECOGNIZABLE GREEN SYMBOLS, COLORS, TINTING, MARKS, OR DESIGN PATTERNS THAT DIFFERENTIATE THE PRODUCT FROM PRODUCTS THAT ARE NOT CERTIFIED COMPOSTABLE


Effective January 1, 2024.  Starting January 1, 2024 HB22-1345  prohibits the sale or distribution of fiber-based food packaging to which PFAS has been intentionally added. 


Connecticut

CT has three pieces of statewide legislation:

2023 is the final year that food packaging that contains intentionally added PFAS can be sold in Connecticut. December 31, 2023 is the cut off for any “package or packaging component that is applied to or in direct contact with any food or beverage” to contain ‘forever chemicals’. The regulation also prohibits replacement chemistry from creating as great or greater a risk than the dangers presented with the current intentionally added PFAS chemicals; SB 837



Enacted in 2019, Connecticut’s SB113 also placed restrictions on single-use straws and prevents anyone from selling or selling food or beverages in expanded polystyrene containers.




Connecticut has a new law to capture food waste starting Jan. 1, 2025. HB664 mandates that businesses that create at least 26 tons of food waste are required to separate it and divert it to be composted in an industrial facility.


Delaware

Delaware has 2 pieces of statewide legislation:

Effective July 1, 2025. Delaware is now on the list of states that have banned polystyrene food containers and single-use plastics. The bill prohibits “food establishments,” including restaurants, caterers and grocery stores from serving food in polystyrene containers or providing plastic straws (unless requested), stir sticks, cocktail or sandwich picks to customers.


Food establishments can no longer use any of the following items with ready-to-eat or beverages:

  • Foam containers (exclusions for fire companies; long-term, acute and outpatient health-care services, non-profit organizations, including religious institutions)
  • Single-service plastic coffee stirrers
  • Cocktail or sandwich picks
  • Single-service plastic straws can only be provided upon request

Effective July 1, 2022, retailers in Delaware will no longer provide plastic carryout bags at checkout. Instead, they will provide customers access to a reusable bag for purchases.


District of Columbia

Washington D.C. has 1 piece of statewide legislation:

Effective January 1, 2016, D.C.’s foam ban banned businesses and organizations from serving food or beverages within expanded polystyrene food service packaging. Through 2021 amendments, the Foam Free Ban now also includes banning the retail sale of foam food service ware, foam storage containers like coolers, and foam loose-fill packaging material, commonly known as packing peanuts.


Florida

Florida has municipal-specific legislation:

Please contact your RSM or terry.rentzepis@worldcentric.com for more information on bans per town/city.


Illinois

Illinois has 1 piece of statewide legislation:

Under the Single Use Plastics Reporting Act 103-0470, the State of Illinois is working to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, single-use plastic disposable foodservice ware from its locations. Illinois Senate Bill 58, informally referred to as the “Foam Ban” but is officially called the State Entities Single-Use Plastic Reporting Act, was signed into law by Governor Pritzker on August 4, 2023.

The new law bans the purchasing and distribution of polystyrene foam foodware in all state facilities and agencies. It will go into effect on January 1, 2025 for state agencies and January 1, 2026 for vendors.

The new law also requires state agencies to track and implement goals to reduce single-use plastic disposable foodware beginning in July 2024. Single-use or throwaway plastics are only used one time before being discarded or recycled. Plastic containers, straws, coffee stirrers, soft drinks and water bottles, and the majority of food packaging are examples of these goods.

An amendment to the Procurement Code states that polystyrene foam foodservice ware will no longer be able to be used or purchased at State owned or leased facilities beginning January 2025; instead, foodservice ware made from compostable or recyclable materials will be required. The following January, vendors providing services at State owned or leased facilities will only be allowed to provide containers made from compostable or recyclable materials. Compostability will be defined using the ASTM 6400 standards.


Maine

ME has 3 pieces of statewide legislation:

Phased legislation, starting January 1, 2023. In Maine, by January 1, 2023, any manufacturer of a PFAS-containing product that wishes to sell in Maine must submit a notification including a description of the product and the purpose, amount, and types of PFAS used. All packaging containing intentionally added PFAS will be banned by January 1, 2030.


Per 38 MRSA Chapter 15-1A, and as of July 1, 2021, Maine banned the use of disposable polystyrene foam food service ware, including containers, bowls, plates, trays, cartons, cups, lids, sleeves, stirrers, or other items used to contain, transport, serve or consume prepared foods.



According to www.maine.gov, the Maine legislature recently passed a law establishing a stewardship program for packaging. Producers of products will pay into a fund based on the amount and the recyclability of packaging associated with their products. These funds will be used to reimburse municipalities for eligible recycling and waste management costs, make investments in recycling infrastructure, and help Maine citizens understand how to recycle. This program’s purpose is to reduce the volume and toxicity and increase the recycling of packaging material. It will provide support to municipalities in their recycling efforts and in doing so improve recycling outcomes for packaging material in Maine.


Maryland

Maryland has 3 pieces of statewide legislation:

Starting Jan. 1, 2024, Specific to Maryland in 2024, HB0275 becomes effective and states "A manufacturer or distributor may not manufacture, or knowingly sell, offer for sale, or distribute for sale or use in the state a food package or food packaging component designed and intended for direct food contact to which PFAS chemicals were intentionally added." Maryland is using "a package that is designed and intended for direct food contact and is composed, in substantial part of paper, paperboard, or other materials originally derived from plant fibers...." as the definition of packaging.


Maryland has also passed a law to study the feasibility of what an Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging program would look like there. Action from producers would not begin until 2026. CAA has been providing advice on the language for the EPR program.



Effective July 1, 2020, Maryland banned the selling or use of disposable polystyrene foam food service ware.


Massachusetts

MA has 1 statewide piece of legislation and 1 piece of city legislation:


All executive offices and agencies of the executive department shall stop purchasing single-use plastic bottles, to be fully implemented no later than Dec. 31, 2023.


NEWTON, MA:

The city council issues a prohibition on the list of items below used by food service and retail establishments, and the sale or use of these products by any business in the City of Newton:

i) foam polystyrene and black plastic food and packaging containers;

ii) plastic stirrers;

iii) single use plastic utensils;

iv) single use plastic water bottles


Minnesota

Minnesota has 2 pieces of statewide legislation:

As of Jan 1, 2024 “no person share manufacture or knowingly sell, offer for sale, distribute for sale, distribute, or offer for use in Minnesota a food package that contains intentionally added PFAS.


The MN Stat. 325E.046 Standards for Labeling Plastics Bags was amended to apply to food service products and other packaging claiming composability. The purpose of the bill is to reduce misleading claims about the environmental performance of products; define ‘Compostable’; and require third-party verification for compostable products by 2026.


The Minnesota Composting Council provided strong support for getting these standards passed and hosts details of the law on their website.


New Jersey

New Jersey has 1 piece of statewide legislation:

Effective May 4, 2022, the New Jersey bill prohibits the provision or sale of single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use paper carryout bags, and polystyrene foam food service products; and limits the provision of single-use plastic straws; and appropriates moneys from the Clean Communities Program Fund to support ongoing public education.


New York

NY has 3 pieces of statewide legislation:

Effective December 31, 2022. The restriction of PFAS in food packaging applies specifically to food packaging with intentionally added PFAS, as described in section 37-0203 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL). According to that provision, no person shall distribute, sell, or offer for sale in this state food packaging containing PFAS substances as intentionally added chemicals on or after December 31, 2022.


New York was the third state to ban plastic bags in 2019 thanks to Senate Bill 1508. The law bans single-use plastic bags provided at checkout by grocery stores and other retailers. There are some exemptions, including bags distributed at the meat/deli counter, newspaper bags, trash bags, garment bags, bags provided by a pharmacy for prescription drugs, and restaurant takeout bags. The law allows individual counties the option of placing a 5-cent fee on paper bags, with 2 cents going to local governments and 3 cents to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.



Effective January 1, 2022, New York banned the use of disposable polystyrene foam food service ware and packing peanuts.


Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has 2 pieces of citywide legislation:

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP, PA: An ordinance has been approved in Newtown Township restricting the use of foam polystyrene food containers and single-use carryout bags, and only allowing for the provision of single-use plastic utensils and straws upon request, effective April 9, 2024. Resources concerning the ordinance may be accessed here.


SWAMPSCOTT, PA: Restrictions concerning single-use plastics were approved in Swampscott. The Plastics Regulations in Food Establishments includes restrictions regarding the types of single-use foodservice containers that may be provided/used as well as only allowing for the provision of food serviceware and condiment packages upon customer request.

Single-use containers composed of the following materials are prohibited for use by food establishments: polystyrene or foam polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, low density polyethylene, any black plastics, any plastic labeled as #7 and any containers with intentionally added PFAS (as defined). Further, PET/PETE foodservice packaging cannot be used to serve or store hot food and beverage and shall not contain post-consumer recycled content. Also, compostables must clearly be marked with their certification. The restrictions are set to take effect in June 2024. More information in the article here.


Rhode Island

Rhode Island has 2 pieces of statewide legislation:

Effective January 1, 2024, no food package to which PFAS have been intentionally introduced during manufacturing or distribution in any amount shall be offered for sale or for promotional purposes by its manufacturer or distributor in the state.


Additionally, beginning January 1, 2025, food establishments in the Ocean State may no longer serve in polystyrene containers or provide plastic beverage stirrers; SB14


Vermont

VT has 2 pieces of statewide legislation:

Single-Use Plastic Bag, Straw and Expanded Polystyrene Ban. Vermont’s SB 113 placed restrictions on single-use plastic bags, single-use straws and stirrers, and prevents anyone from selling or selling food or beverages in expanded polystyrene containers.



Effective July 1, 2023. Vermont passed the nation’s most comprehensive legislation on PFAS when S.20 (Act 36) was signed by the governor on May 18, 2021. The law bans PFAS in food packaging, firefighting foam, and certain household products.  With regard to food packaging, the law prohibits the sale, distribution for sale, and distribution for use of any food package to which PFAS have been intentionally added or are present in any amount.


Virginia

Virginia has 1 piece of statewide legislation:

In July 2025 Virginia will add its name to the states who say no to foam anywhere across the state. HB 1902 prohibits any establishment that prepares food for the public to serve to a customer in a single-use, expanded polystyrene food service container defined as: plates, cups, bowls, trays, and hinged containers.


Washington

Washington has 3 pieces of statewide legislation:

Beginning in June of 2024, expanded polystyrene coolers and other food service products like containers, plates, bowls, clamshells, trays and cups will also be banned.



WA HB 1569 is designed to restrict the use of “compostability” claims for plastic products, including foodservice packaging. Starting July 2024, any products labeled “compostable” must either be comprised only of a wood or pure fiber, or meet associated ASTM standards, FTC green guide labeling requirements, and have a visible logo indicating third-party certification. The bill also prohibits labeling plastic products with the terms “biodegradable,” “degradable,” “decomposable,” or “oxo-degradable.”


Phased legislation, starting February 1, 2023. In 2018, Washington state approved ESHB 2658 to prohibit PFAS in food packaging. According to the definitions in the law, food package means ‘a package or packaging component that is intended for direct food contact and is composed, in substantial part, of paper, paperboard, or other materials originally derived from plant fibers.’ This law was rectified after further analysis into safer alternatives, and effective dates determined accordingly.

Implementation by Category

Scope

Effective Date*

PHASE 1

Food Boats

Pizza Boxes

Plates

Wraps and Liners

February 2023

PHASE 2

Bags and Sleeves

Bowls

Flat Serviceware

Open-top Containers

Closed Containers

May 2024

*DOE expects to begin enforcing the restrictions on PFAS-containing food packaging from those dates