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Trumbauer and Savidge team up to ban styrofoam packaging for food in Anne Arundel and Annapolis

| May 07, 2018, 01:34 PM

Citing the need to reduce litter and promote more sustainable food packaging, Anne Arundel County Councilmember Chris Trumbauer (District 6) and Annapolis City Alderman Rob Savidge (Ward 7) jointly announced legislation today that would prohibit food service businesses from using polystyrene foam.

“Litter continues to be a problem in Anne Arundel County,” said County Councilmember Chris Trumbauer, lead sponsor of the county legislation. “With more than 500 miles of tidal shoreline and a vast network of creeks and streams, it’s time for us to join the club and keep this harmful material out of our waterways.”

Expanded polystyrene foam is a food packaging material that never biodegrades. It cannot be recycled at any recycling centers operated by cities or counties in Maryland. Studies have shown that exposure to polystyrene foam particles is harmful to fish and other wildlife. More than 100 jurisdictions in 11 states have passed legislation prohibiting polystyrene foam, including Washington, D.C., Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County.

The county legislation will be introduced at the May 7 County Council Meeting at 7pm. The bill is modeled after Baltimore City’s legislation, recently signed by Mayor Catherine Pugh. The bill would take effect on September 1, 2019, giving businesses more than a year to phase out polystyrene foam. The legislation also directs the county to provide education and outreach about the ban and includes a provision for a warning before any business is issued a citation. The legislation will be cosponsored by Republican Councilmember John Grasso of Glen Burnie (District 2) and will receive a public hearing on June 4.

Alderman Rob Savidge will introduce similar legislation at the City of Annapolis Council meeting on May 14. That bill will be scheduled for a public hearing on May 21.

“I’ve participated in many stream cleanups over the years, and I see polystyrene foam​ all the time,” said Savidge. “These ​single-use ​products harm our creeks and can be replaced with equivalent products at little or no extra cost. Annapolis is ready to move beyond polystyrene to more sustainable materials.”

The city legislation has the support of Mayor Gavin Buckley, a prominent local restaurant owner.

“As a restauranteur, years ago we made the decision to stop using polystyrene foam and switch to more environmentally friendly packaging,” said Mayor Buckley. “As mayor, this proposed legislation is an important part of our environmental agenda to help reduce pollution and achieve our ultimate goal of swimmable and fishable waterways at all times.”

Businesses nationwide are beginning to phase out polystyrene foam. Dunkin Donuts recently announced it will eliminate polystyrene foam cups entirely by 2020. Fast food giant McDonald’s has also pledged to eliminate foam by the end of 2018.

Some county restaurants, such as Café Mezzanote in Severna Park, have already moved beyond polystyrene foam. “Polystyrene foam is a relic from the dark ages of the restaurant industry,” said Kosmas ‘Tommie’ Koukoulis, the restaurant’s owner. “In today’s world of earth-conscience and customer-friendly packaging, our guests notice and appreciate the difference.”

Analysis from Trash Free Maryland, a nonprofit group with a mission to reduce litter, shows that alternative materials are readily available at little or no extra cost.

Severn Bank

Category: Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

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