Last October, Annapolis enacted a prohibition on expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam food service products. These products, commonly referred to by the trademarked name “Styrofoam,” will be prohibited as of September 1, 2019 for use and sale at food service businesses as well as grocery and convenience stores in the City of Annapolis.
Businesses using EPS for food service should begin using up current stores of this product in order to be in compliance with the ban on September 1. The grace period for use of this product runs October 22, 2018 to September 1, 2019. After that, businesses using the product will be fined $100 for the first offense and $200 for subsequent violations.
This measure is an important step towards protecting our lands, our streams and rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam is made from a petroleum byproduct that is nonrenewable. EPS foam is not recyclable and, once discarded, persists in the environment. It does not biodegrade. Instead, EPS breaks down into small pieces dangerous to fish and wildlife. This ban will reduce the amount of EPS waste entering landfills and local waterways, protecting our treasured natural resources.
Anne Arundel County has implemented a similar ban (starting October 1, 2019). The state of Maryland also passed a ban with a July 2020 effective date.
“This ban will go a long way to keeping EPS foam out of the Bay,” said Jacqueline Guild, director of the City’s Office of Environmental Policy.
EPS foam is banned in the following products: cups, bowls, plates and takeout containers, clamshells and trays. The ban impacts restaurants (full, fast and self-service), grocery stores, vending trucks and food carts, and institutional cafeterias and other businesses that sell or provide food for consumption on- or off-premise.
Businesses may use containers composed of compostable materials, paper, plant (sugarcane, rice, bamboo), as well as aluminum, recyclable plastics (1 through 5) and glass.