Foam containers banned in Anne Arundel Co.

Close-up of delivery man handing a slack of foam lunch box - Foam box is toxic plastic waste. It can be used for recycling and environment saving concept(Getty Images/iStockphoto/twinsterphoto)

There’s one less thing that can come home with dinner in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County, starting Friday — foam containers.

A ban on polystyrene containers, including Styrofoam-branded products, takes effect.

Restaurants and other businesses that serve food have had a year to make the switch. County leaders say in many cases a lot of places already had changed over their take-out containers before the law banning them was signed last year.

“Going around the county over the last year I’ve seen a lot of places have made the transition,” said Chris Trumbauer, the director of policy and communications for Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman.

“Even before the bill was passed, a lot of takeout places and restaurants had made the transition already because their customer base was demanding it.”

Styrofoam containers are already banned in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and starting July 1 a statewide ban on the containers goes into effect in Maryland.

The reasons behind the ban center on the environment.

“The polystyrene foam is a significant source of litter along our highways and other places,” said Trumbauer.

“And one of the problems with it is it doesn’t degrade. It gets in the waterways or gets in our environment. It just keeps getting broken up into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic pollution and that has an effect on water quality but also on wildlife.”

The exceptions to the ban includes food prepared and packaged outside of the county, as well as the foam used to package raw, uncooked meat, seafood and poultry for off-premise consumption — typically the packaging used by grocery stores, butchers and seafood counters.

“I haven’t seen a lot of polystyrene foam around recently in the county, and we don’t expect that there’s going to be a giant switch over today because I think most businesses had been planning for this and had made the appropriate switch long before today,” Trumbauer said.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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