(Westover, MD) In Maryland, an expanded polystyrene ban, commonly known as styrofoam, went into effect on July 1, 2020. Under this law, a person may not sell or offer for sale in the state an expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service product; and a food service business or school may not sell or provide food or beverages in an EPS food service product. An extension was given to food service businesses and schools allowing them to use their existing inventory of styrofoam products until October 1, 2020.

What types of products does this affect?

The ban applies to EPS food service products. The law defines an EPS food service product as a product made of EPS that is:

  • Used for selling or providing food or beverages; and
  • Intended by the manufacturer to be used once for eating or drinking or generally recognized by the public as an item to be discarded after one use.

EPS food service products include food containers, plates, hot and cold beverage cups, trays, and cartons for food. EPS food service products do NOT include:

  • Egg cartons shipped into the State for packaging or cartons of eggs that have been packaged within the State for sale within the State.
  • Food or beverages that have been packaged in EPS containers before receipt by a food service business;
  • A product made of EPS that is used to package raw, uncooked, or butchered meat, fish poultry, or seafood; or non-foam polystyrene food service products.

The Environmental Health Division of the Somerset County Health Department will look for styrofoam containers during their routine food inspections. If the product has not been removed during reinspection, the agency will report the noncompliance to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

For more information on the new styrofoam ban and other resources, call the Environmental Health at 443.523.1700 or go to the Somerset County Health Department’s website at www.somersethealth.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram (somerthealthmd) or Twitter (@somersethdmd).  

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