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Styrofoam Ban Underway In Baltimore

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Litter found in a stream in Baltimore (Creative Commons).

By Sofia Corrales

SILVER SPRING, Md.– A styrofoam ban that was passed unanimously by the Baltimore City Council in April 2018 went into effect last month, and violators may face fines starting at $200. 

The Baltimore Office of Sustainability  says the purpose of the ban is to “reduce the amount of EPS [expanded polystyrene] foam waste entering the environment, landfills, and waterways,” but local businesses and restaurants are finding themselves in a tough position.

The switch to plastic containers will likely drive up prices, prompting worries from store owners about how customers will be affected. 

According to CBS Baltimore, Phillip Quick, a representative of Jay’s Deli, a business affected by the ban, said that they “don’t want to raise prices, because [they] don’t want people to go somewhere else, but sometimes that’s really the only option.” 

Adam Ortiz, the Director of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, said there’s no reason why restaurants would need to keep styrofoam. 

“It’s hard for a restaurant to make the case they need styrofoam when there’s literally hundreds of examples of other businesses that have chosen more sustainable products,” Ortiz told the Baltimore Sun

While Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties have had styrofoam bans in effect for three years, it is still unclear how this ban will go on to impact the city of Baltimore. 

A statewide ban is set to take effect in Maryland in 2020. 

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