Annapolis Kicks Out Styrofoam
To-go diners, cafeteria eaters and grocery shoppers in Annapolis now carry home no Styrofoam packaging with their purchases.
The city’s ban went into effect September 1. Anne Arundel County follows on January 1, after Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Our whole state bans Styrofoam food and drink containers next July 1.
The ban includes restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, vending trucks, food carts and institutional cafeterias, including school cafeterias.
Expanded polystrene — known by the trademarked name Styrofoam — does not biodegrade. Instead, it breaks into ever-smaller pieces that endanger wildlife. It is also a polluter of the Chesapeake and all waterways, inherently dangerous for both marine and human life.
In place of Styrofoam, cups, bowls, plates, trays and takeout clamshells are containers composed of compostable materials such as paper and plants including sugarcane, rice and bamboo, as well as aluminum and glass.
Businesses that used the crisp plastic foam have been phasing it out since last October. Other businesses, like Evelyn’s in West Annapolis, have never used it. “We were ahead of the times,” said owner Brandon Stalker.
Annapolis provisioners can make bigger strides away from single-use plastic, partnering with the city and the civic group Annapolis Green in the month-long public education campaign Plastic-Free Annapolis.
“The world is drowning in plastic, and a lot of the litter is made up of food and beverage containers,” said Annapolis Green’s President Elvia Thompson. “Since businesses in the hospitality industry touch residents and visitors alike, they can do a lot to keep our environment free of plastic by voluntarily changing some of their everyday practices.”
To help businesses get started, Annapolis Green offers a toolkit and online resources, such as free social media promotion, newspaper advertisements — which we at Bay Weekly would be happy to run — and marketing tools, including recognition plaques and stickers.
As eaters, drinkers and shoppers, we all can help by cutting back on single-use plastic: bags, water bottles, carryout containers, balloons and straws by using environmentally friendly alternatives or by just not using these products
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