Both chambers of the state legislature this month passed bills banning food containers made of polystyrene, also known as plastic foam.
Maryland is now well on its way to becoming the first state to ban plastic foam
Maryland lawmakers have positioned the state to become the first in the nation to ban foam food containers and cups. If a final measure is passed and the governor signs it, Maryland would be the first state to implement such a ban, environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council says.
A bill to ban foam food containers clears Maryland General Assembly
Both chambers of the Maryland state legislature this month passed bills banning food containers made of polystyrene, known as plastic foam, the Baltimore Sun reported.
A conference committee will work out the differences between the two bills, Del. Brooke Lierman, the sponsor of the House of Delegates version, told the Baltimore Sun. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the effort to stand up for our waterways, stand up for our neighborhoods, stand up for the world our kids will inherit,”
The proposal would then require the approval of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has yet to take a position. If Hogan signs off, the ban would take effect on July 1, 2020. County officials will then have the power to charge $250 fines for violations.
Plastic foam ban burdens businesses, say opponents
Cailey Locklair Tolle, president of the Maryland Retailers Association, told CNN a plastic foam ban burdens businesses.
"Not only will costs go up for restaurants and be passed onto consumers, but because comparable products weigh more and many cannot be recycled, costs will increase due to higher tipping fees (based on weight) at landfills," Locklair Tolle said.
However, some foam products would be allowed, including those packaging raw meat. Lierman’s version also permits foam products packaged outside the state and polystyrene outside of food service.
Numerous cities across the nation have already banned single-use foam food containers, including New York City, Minneapolis, Minnesota and Santa Monica, California. Within the state, Prince George’s, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties have prohibited foam products, the Sun reported.
Why do we use styrofoam and what are some eco friendly alternatives?
Styrofoam (expanded polystyrene) has been a popular material since it was first developed in the 1940’s because it’s cheap, lightweight, and “disposable”. Unfortunately, since Styrofoam is made from polymers like plastic, this material never breaks down in landfill, so throwing it away doesn’t actually make it go away.
And this is a particularly big problem because research indicates that Styrofoam may be carcinogenic for humans. The good news is that there are plenty of options for cheap, lightweight materials that are better for your health and the environment.
- Mushroom Material: These materials are grown rather than made. No, seriously—they’re made from mushrooms! Agricultural waste is mixed with mushroom fungus to grow a fully sustainable packaging alternative.
- Plantable Packaging: seeds embedded in this fiber board can turn your next mail delivery into a window garden.
- EarthAware™ Biodegradeable Packing Materials: It looks like a regular plastic air pouch, but EarthAware™’s packing materials are made with a special type of plastic that can biodegrade in just 5 years.
- EarthShell “Paper” Plates: There’s no paper at all in these disposable plates. Instead, rice, potatoes, and limestone could be the future of Central Park picnics.
- ecotainer® Cups: More than 90% of the Styrofoam in New York’s landfills came from food containers like plates, take-out boxes, and disposable cups. These ecotainer® cups, made from recycled plants and wood fibers, could easily fill that niche.
To read more about these eco-friendly alternatives and to discover more CLICK HERE
NEW YORK CITY BANS STYROFOAM
Since January 1, 2019 certain foam products are banned from possession, sale, or use in NYC. This includes foam takeout containers, cups, packing peanuts, plates, bowls and trays. Click for full story.
TIME TO BAN ALL PLASTIC PACKAGING FOR GOOD SOUNDS IMPOSSIBLE, RIGHT? WRONG!
Sustainable solutions are being developed in ever growing numbers, offering the conscientious consumer viable green alternatives to the blight of plastic packaging.