To: Peter Smith, County Councilman District 1, John Grasso, County Councilman District 2, Derek Fink, County Councilman District 3, Andrew Pruski, County Councilman District 4, Michael Peroutka, County Councilman District 5, Chris Trumbauer,...

Support Bill No. 49-18: Anne Arundel County EPS Foam Ban!

Ban expanded polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) food packaging in Anne Arundel County today!

Why is this important?

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam food packaging is a major component of litter in Maryland’s waterways. Among the Chesapeake Bay’s tidal waters, the EPA has identified three regions of concern: Baltimore Harbor, the Anacostia River, and the Elizabeth River. Since 2014, 702,017 EPS foam containers have been removed from the Baltimore Harbor alone. EPS foam comprises 25-40% of the trash, by volume, pulled from the Anacostia River before it was able to reach the Chesapeake Bay and 10-40%, by volume, of the litter collected during stream cleanups.

The fragile nature of EPS foam causes it to break down into infinitesimal pieces upon entering our environment, making it nearly impossible to successfully remove from our waterways. EPS foam - especially that used for food service - can rarely be recycled and municipal curbside collection of EPS foam in Maryland has been determined by many jurisdictions to not be economically viable. Once EPS foam becomes part of the waste stream, it commonly gets washed or blown into our storm drains and rivers, where it absorbs 10 times more pesticides, fertilizers, and chemicals than other kinds of plastic, increasing exposure to toxins for marine life, who mistake it for food.

In order to ensure this particularly hazardous form of litter does not continue to plague Maryland's communities and waterways, Bill No. 49-18 requires any disposable food service container used within Anne Arundel County to be a non-Expanded Polystyrene Foam material.