Posted by 01 October 2020
It is now illegal for Maryland businesses to serve food or drinks in Styrofoam or other foam containers.
In 2019, legislators passed a law outlawing the use of polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam, containers in food service. Retailers are also banned from selling such containers under the legislation. Gov. Larry Hogan did not support the law, but he did not veto it, either. He let the law go into effect without his signature.
Prior to the statewide law going into effect, three of Maryland’s largest counties already banned the use of these containers, as did Baltimore City.
Supporters of the law said that it will cut down a product that could not be recycled and did not easily biodegrade. They also contended that this ban will save space in landfills and reduce litter. Opponents argued that the burden will fall on small businesses. They also said that it would have no real effect on litter or the environment, since only a tiny amount of litter involved Styrofoam. Some business owners are also pointing out that this is an especially bad time to be placing new burdens on restaurants, which have been struggling with a government-mandated shutdown.
The ban was supposed to go into effect in July. However, the state delayed implementation in light of the uptick in takeout foods in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Under this delay, restaurants could still use their stock of foam containers until today.
Maine and Vermont have similar bans in place, although Maine’s prohibitions do not take effect until 2021.