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Polystyrene foam container ban

Foam container ban for Styrofoam™ and others

Styrofoam cups and containers with an X under them
Plastic clamshells, a paper cup, and paper to-go container with a checkmark under them

Restaurants, grocery stores and nonprofit food servers in Portland are prohibited from serving or packaging food and beverage in products made of polystyrene foam.

Polystyrene is often called Styrofoam, but there are many brands of these foam containers, all of which are included in this ban.

Common uses for polystyrene in the food industry are for to-go containers, bowls, cups, and food trays.

Products made of this material are extremely difficult to recycle and often end up as litter in our open spaces, rivers and oceans.  They break down into small toxic pieces that wildlife and aquatic animals consume because they can’t distinguish the small pieces from food.

You may find vendors selling polystyrene products, but you need to select a different product for use in your Portland restaurant, store, or other food-related business. Using these products could result in a fine of up to $100 for the first violation.

Find more details about the ban at Portland City Code 17.102.310 Prohibition on Certain PSF Uses and Enforcement, Notice, and Fines.

If you have polystyrene you want to recycle, use Metro’s Find a Recycler website to see if any private recycling companies are currently accepting it for pick up or drop off (sometimes requiring a fee). It’s always wise to check, even if you’ve dropped off some in the past. The market can shift quickly, causing recyclers to stop accepting polystyrene products for long periods of time. 


For other assistance and information, or to register a complaint about use of foam containers, plastic bags, or single-use plastics, contact BPS. Call 503-823-7202 or email