Starting today, food service establishments can no longer provide styrofoam containers to customers. During the 2019 General Assembly Session the legislature passed a bill that would prohibit food service establishments from giving out singe-use styrofoam containers to customers. The bill took effect July 1 of this year, but decreased traffic at restaurants throughout the state did not allow businesses and schools to run through their stock of styrofoam containers. This led The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to push back the start of the ban 90 days. Under the 2019 legislation, MDE is permitted to grant up to a one year waiver from participation in the ban. The bill requires that counties enforce the ban.
From coverage in the Baltimore Sun:
Ben Grumbles, Maryland’s environment secretary, said that by prohibiting polystyrene and embracing more sustainable materials, the state will serve as a model for other jurisdictions with similar bans in the pipeline.
“We will learn how best to implement it,” Grumbles said, “and other states will watch us closely.”
Maine, New York and Vermont have passed bans on polystyrene food containers, although none have yet taken effect. Other states are weighing similar legislation.
Many Marylanders may not even notice a difference come Thursday, because more than half live in localities with existing bans on foam containers ― Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
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