Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection (MCDEP) announces a ban on polystyrene food service ware and loose-fill packaging.
In October 2020, Montgomery County Council passed a law banning polystyrene packaging. That law finally took effect earlier this week. Under the ban, polystyrene products (i.e., those labeled with #6) can no longer be used within the county. Products that contain polystyrene include foam and non-foam/rigid containers, bowls, plates, trays, cartons, cups, egg cartons, etc.
- Prohibits food service businesses from using any polystyrene (#6 PS) food service ware.
- Prohibits the sale of any polystyrene food service products and polystyrene loose fill packaging (also known as packing peanuts).
- Requires all county agencies, contractors, and lessees to use compostable or recyclable food service ware.
- Requires all other food service businesses to use compostable or recyclable disposable food service ware.
One of the most significant environmental concerns is that polystyrene products do not break down as quickly and consumed by fish. This damages ecosystems such as the Chesapeake Bay and possibly reintroduces plastics into the food supply.
MCDEP has developed a list of alternative food service ware products that meet the county’s recycling standards.