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Foam Food Container Ordinance
Food Containers
Foam Food Container Ordinance
San José's Foam Food Container Ordinance (Municipal Code Chapter 9.10, Part 17, fully effective as of January 1, 2015) requires all restaurants to use non-foam food service ware for both dine-in and takeout.

This ordinance allows restaurants to choose the best alternative for their business needs. Restaurants may also apply for unique packaging and financial hardship exemptions.

Environmental Impact
This ordinance aims to reduce a pervasive and persistent type of litter by banning food service ware made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, commonly referred to as Styrofoam™*. EPS foam is uniquely problematic when littered because it does not degrade. It breaks easily into tiny pieces, making it difficult to clean up. Those small pieces are often mistaken as food by fish and wildlife and are harmful to their health.


*Although EPS is commonly referred to as “Styrofoam,” the trademarked material manufactured by Dow Chemical is not used for food containers.