Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Maryland Will Be First State to Ban Foam Food Containers

Politics
Maryland Will Be First State to Ban Foam Food Containers
On Thursday, Maryland will become the first state in the nation to implement a ban on foam takeout containers. guruXOOX / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Maryland will become the first state in the nation Thursday to implement a ban on foam takeout containers.


The law, which was passed in 2019, prohibits restaurants and other institutions that serve food, such as schools, from using polystyrene containers, The Baltimore Sun reported.

"Single-use plastics are overrunning our oceans and bays and neighborhoods," chief bill sponsor Democratic Delegate Brooke Lierman told CNN when it passed. "We need to take dramatic steps to start stemming our use and reliance on them ... to leave future generations a planet full of wildlife and green space."

Lierman said she had tried twice before to pass the bill, but a shift in public opinion against plastic pollution finally pushed it over the finish line.

The law was originally scheduled to go into effect July 1, but officials delayed it by three months because of the coronavirus pandemic, CNN reported further. Dining has shifted from table service to takeout, and the government wanted to give impacted businesses more time to use up their extra foam, The Baltimore Sun explained.

Some restaurant owners still oppose the ban, arguing that foam containers are cheaper and longer-lasting than alternatives.

"We don't like increased costs," Dan Schuman of Captain Dan's Crabhouse in Eldersburg told The Baltimore Sun. "No restaurant does. Because we have to pass that onto the customer."

He said he was raising prices to cover the cost of new plastic containers, as well as an upcoming minimum wage increase.

However, other restaurants have already made the change on their own and were pleased with the results. Victoria Gastro Pub bar manager Megan Purcell said the Victoria Restaurant Group switched to compostable takeaway containers two years ago.

"It's just the right thing to do and it was time," Purcell told WMAR.

Environmentalists, meanwhile, say the ban will help fight the climate crisis, because foam containers are made from fossil fuels, The Baltimore Sun reported. It will also keep the containers out of waterways.

This has already been the case for Maryland localities and cities that have banned foam containers ahead of the state, including Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

In Baltimore, the trash wheels that prevent rubbish from entering the Inner Harbor reported a 40 percent reduction in polystyrene containers caught in their spokes.

Maine, New York and Vermont have passed similar bans, but they have not yet taken effect. Maryland regulators hope that their ban can be a model for these states and others considering phasing out the use of foam containers.

"We will learn how best to implement it," Maryland environment secretary Ben Grumbles told The Baltimore Sun, "and other states will watch us closely."

A new study has revealed that Earth's biggest mass extinction was triggered by volcanic activity that led to ocean acidification. Illustration by Dawid Adam Iurino (PaleoFactory, Sapienza University of Rome) for Jurikova et al (2020)

The excess carbon dioxide emitted by human activity since the start of the industrial revolution has already raised the Earth's temperature by more than one degree Celsius, increased the risk of extreme hurricanes and wildfires and killed off more than half of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef. But geologic history shows that the impacts of greenhouse gases could be much worse.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Coronavirus-sniffing dogs Miina and Kössi (R) are seen in Vantaa, Finland on September 2, 2020. Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva / AFP/ Getty Images

By Teri Schultz

Europe is in a panic over the second wave of COVID-19, with infection rates sky-rocketing and GDP plummeting. Belgium has just announced it will no longer test asymptomatic people, even if they've been in contact with someone who has the disease, because the backlog in processing is overwhelming. Other European countries are also struggling to keep up testing and tracing.

Meanwhile in a small cabin in Helsinki airport, for his preferred payment of a morsel of cat food, rescue dog Kossi needs just a few seconds to tell whether someone has coronavirus.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Rashtrapati Bhavan engulfed in smog, at Rajpath, on Oct. 12, 2020 in New Delhi, India. Biplov Bhuyan / Hindustan Times via Getty Images

An annual comprehensive report on air pollution showed that it was responsible for 6.67 million deaths worldwide, including the premature death of 500,000 babies, with the worst health outcomes occurring in the developing world, according to the State of Global Air, which was released Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
New research finds that dust in buildings with older furniture is more likely to contain a suite of compounds that impact our health. Aleksandr Zubkov / Getty Images

By Hannah Seo

If you've been considering throwing out that old couch, now might be a good time. Dust in buildings with older furniture is more likely to contain a suite of compounds that impact our health, according to new research.

Read More Show Less

Poor eating habits, lack of exercise, genetics, and a bunch of other things are known to be behind excessive weight gain. But, did you know that how much sleep you get each night can also determine how much weight you gain or lose?

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch