January 29, 2015

Council Votes to Ban Use, Sale of Certain Polystyrene Products

The Montgomery County Council has unanimously voted to ban the use and sale of certain expanded polystyrene food service products and the sale of certain polystyrene packing materials in the County. The legislation also will require the use of compostable or recyclable alternatives.

Bill 41-14 prohibits the use of foam food service products by food service businesses and the sale of foam loose fill packaging (packing peanuts) and bulk foam food service products. Among the items that the bill covers are containers, plates, cups, trays and egg cartons. Products packaged outside the County before receipt by the food service business, and materials used to package raw meat, seafood or poultry, are exempt from the prohibition.

The bill, whose chief sponsor was Councilmember Hans Riemer and which was co-sponsored by Council President George Leventhal and Councilmember Marc Elrich, will prohibit the use and sale of polystyrene foam food service products and the sale of polystyrene loose fill packaging (packing peanuts) effective January 1, 2016.

The legislation will also require the use of compostable or recyclable single-use disposable food service ware, such as plates, bowls, cups and eating utensils by the County Government and its contractors effective January 1, 2016 and for private businesses effective January 1, 2017.

Read more in the news release.