Montgomery County considers polystyrene foam ban

WASHINGTON — Restaurants and take-out places in Montgomery County may be banned from using food containers that aren’t recyclable, including what is commonly known by its trademarked name, Styrofoam.

The Montgomery County Council is taking aim at polystyrene, including foam food containers and packing peanuts. The council has set a hearing for Oct. 14.

Earlier this year, the Baltimore City Council considered, but ultimately delayed voting on, a Styrofoam ban. Some council members wanted to work toward preventing littering instead of banning the material, The Baltimore Sun reported in June, and other council members voiced concern about the financial effect on local businesses.

Current Montgomery County guidelines tell residents to put polystyrene foam in the trash or bring it to the Shady Grove Processing Facility to be disposed of as trash. Some packaging and mailing companies accept it for reuse in shipping.

To find a polystyrene recycling facility near you, check the EPS Industry Alliance recycling resource.

This year, similar bans have been considered in Philadelphia, Boston and New York. Bans are in effect in Portland, Oregon, Orange County, California and elsewhere in the United States.

Styrene is a “possible human carcinogen” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on WTOP Facebook page.

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