January 26, 2015 - MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL PASSES STYROFOAM BAN

Monday, January 26

In a unanimous vote last week, the Montgomery County Council passed legislation to ban the use and sale of all polystyrene (Styrofoam) containers and clingy "packing peanuts," effective January 1, 2017.  The bill, sponsored by Councilmembers Hans Riemer, George Levanthal, and Marc Elrich, bars restaurants, supermarkets, and institutional cafeterias from using containers, plates, cups, egg cartons, and other products made of Styrofoam. Instead, they must use only compostable or recyclable single-use disposable food service ware. Products packaged outside of Montgomery County before receipt by the food service business and materials used to package raw meat, seafood, or poultry are exempt. The ban begins on January 1, 2016 for the County government and its contractors. The law will also bar the sale of polystyrene loose-fill packaging, commonly referred to as "packing peanuts." It will be enforced by the Department of Environmental Protection on a "complaint driven" basis, meaning that the county will not conduct inspections but will investigate calls or e-mails from the public about possible violations.