The Annapolis City Council enacted a prohibition on expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam food service products last October. These products, commonly referred to by the trademarked name “Styrofoam,” are prohibited for use and sale at food service businesses and grocery and convenience stores in the City of Annapolis as of September 1, 2019.
Earlier this year, the City mailed all food service businesses and grocers advising them to begin using up stores of the product in order to be in compliance. The grace period ran from October 22, 2018 to September 1, 2019. After September 1, businesses using EPS foam for food service 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 and the State of Maryland have passed similar bans with future effective dates.
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, and glass. Contact the City of Annapolis Office of Environmental Policy if you would like a list of vendors that provide non-EPS containers.