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ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Maryland’s statewide ban on polystyrene foam cups and containers begins today. In March 2019, Maryland became the first state in the country to pass a foam ban through its state legislature.
Polystyrene foam -- commonly referred to as Styrofoam -- is one of the most common and hazardous forms of single-use plastic. Less than 3 percent of it is recycled, and once in landfills or the natural environment, it persists for hundreds of years. In a single year, Americans throw out 25 billion polystyrene foam cups, part of the 8 million tons of plastic dumped in waterways every year.
Environment Maryland state director Kate Breimann and Maryland PIRG state director Emily Scarr issued the following statements in response to the law’s implementation:
“With this new ban, Maryland is proving it’s a national leader when it comes to addressing the plastic pollution crisis,” Breimann said. “This safeguard is a long time coming. After all, study after study has shown that polystyrene is a threat to our water, our wildlife and our air and our communities. From the Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to the Patapsco River, microplastics have contaminated our precious waterway, and polystyrene is a huge contributor to this problem. This shouldn’t have happened because nothing we use for five minutes should be allowed to pollute our planet for hundreds of years.
"We’re grateful to the leadership of Sen. Cheryl Kagan, Del. Brooke Lierman and the Maryland General Assembly in addressing this critical issue, and we are excited to continue prioritizing wildlife over waste during the 2021 session and beyond.”
“Today’s ban on foam food packaging is an exciting step away from single-use plastics, which are a huge source of waste and litter,” Scarr said. “Whether they end up as litter in our neighborhoods or waterways, buried in a leaky landfill, or burned up in a toxic incinerator, each coffee cup and clamshell container we use pollutes our communities for hundreds of years. It’s simply absurd that the fossil fuel and chemical industries continue to profit from polluting our world under a guise of convenience. In the 21st century we should be able to keep our coffee hot without causing permanent harm to our communities’ health and wellbeing.”
Environment Maryland is a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization. We work to protect clean air, clean water, and open space. We have thousands of members across the state and are based in Baltimore.
Maryland PIRG is a statewide small donor funded public interest advocacy organization based in Baltimore, with grassroots members across the state. For forty-five years we’ve stood up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.
Your donation supports Maryland PIRG's work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.