Starting on October 1st, the state of Maryland will be implementing a new ban on the use of foam containers. The law was approved last year and affects food service, as well as other businesses and institutions; schools included.
“Single-use plastics are overrunning our oceans and bays and neighborhoods. We need to take dramatic steps to start stemming our use and reliance on them … to leave future generations a planet full of wildlife and green space,” said chief bill sponsor Democratic Delegate Brooke Lierman.
According to EcoWatch, the law was originally scheduled to go into effect July 1, but officials delayed it by three months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Dining had shifted from table service to takeout, and the government wanted to give impacted businesses more time to use up their extra foam.
Some restaurants oppose the ban saying foam containers are cheaper and have a longer shelf-life. But other restaurants have already made the change on their own switching to compostable takeaway containers.
“A food service business or school can apply for a waiver for up to one year if the Maryland Department of the Environment finds that following the law would ‘present an undue hardship or a practical difficulty’ that would fall under a unique circumstance,” states an article by CNN about the ban.
Foam containers are made from fossil fuels; so this progressive ban will help fight the climate crisis and is a huge success for environmentalists and climate activists.
Maine, New York, and Vermont have passed similar bans, but they have not yet taken effect. Maryland regulators hope that their ban can be a model for these states and others considering phasing out the use of foam containers, reports EcoWatch.
“We will learn how best to implement it and other states will watch us closely,” says Ben Grumbles, the state’s environment secretary.