Maryland Senate passes proposed Styrofoam ban

Maryland Senate passes proposed Styrofoam ban
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Maryland could become the first state to ban expanded polystyrene food service products after state senators passed a legislative measure Tuesday, WTOP reported.

The measure bans the sale of containers made of expanded polystyrene, commonly referred to as Styrofoam. It also would prohibit the sale of food in foam cups, plates or egg cartons. 

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“It cannot be recycled. It doesn’t break down. It doesn’t biodegrade,” Maryland Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D) said.

Since expanded polystyrene is 95 percent air, it is not worth the cost of recycling once it is processed and cleaned, Kagan said.

Critics say the measure would harm small farmers who use egg cartons or nonprofits that buy expanded polystyrene in bulk, the outlet noted.

The Senate bill, passed on a 34-13 vote, would give businesses one year to comply with the new rule, allowing time to use and dispose of any foam containers they have already purchased.

“We’re just saying small Maryland businesses can’t use these products. But the big, large businesses from outside the state can ship these products into Maryland,” Maryland Republican Minority Whip Sen. Stephen Hershey said.

Several Maryland counties, including Montgomery, Prince George's and Anne Arundel, already ban polystyrene products.

Washington, D.C., banned the product in 2014, the outlet noted.

The bill now goes to the Maryland House of Delegates for consideration. If it's passed and signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Maryland would become the first state in the nation to ban foam containers.