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Polystyrene Ban

Last updated: December 4, 2019

NO MORE POLYSTYRENE: New Code Takes Effect February 28, 2020

Effective February 28, 2020, the Anne Arundel County Code § 11-6-103 prohibits the use of expanded polystyrene foam food service products.

Who must comply with the new requirement?

All food service businesses located in Anne Arundel County must comply, regardless of where the food or beverage will be consumed. The businesses include:

Foam Free Flier

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  • Full-service restaurants
  • Limited-service restaurants
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Delicatessens
  • Coffee shops
  • Supermarkets
  • Grocery stores
  • Commercial retailers with grocery departments or food services
  • Vending trucks or carts
  • Food trucks
  • Business or institutional cafeterias, including those operated by or on behalf of Anne Arundel County departments and agencies
  • Other businesses selling or providing food within the county for consumption on or off premises.

What is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)?

Expanded polystyrene, commonly referred to as Styrofoam™, is a lightweight petroleum-based thermoplastic product that is generally white in color.

What types of EPS foam packaging are prohibited?

Single-use food product containers, such as cups, plates, bowls, trays, clamshell containers, cartons for eggs and other foods, and other products made of EPS that are used for selling, providing or serving food, are prohibited.

Exceptions: This prohibition does not apply to food or beverages filled and sealed in EPS containers outside of Anne Arundel County, prior to receipt by a food service business, or to materials used to package raw, uncooked, or butchered meat, fish, poultry or seafood for off-premise consumption.

How will the Code be enforced?

The Department of Health is responsible for enforcement of Anne Arundel County Code § 11-6-103. The Department is committed to assisting businesses to ensure smooth transition to acceptable alternatives. Businesses found non-compliant may be issued an initial warning and subsequent fines ranging from $50 to $500.

What products are acceptable alternatives to EPS foam?

Food product containers made with paper, cardboard, aluminum, glass, plastic, and other non-EPS manufactured food packaging containers may be used.

Are waivers available?

There is no provision for a waiver in Anne Arundel County Code § 11-6-103, and all food service businesses located in Anne Arundel County must comply by February 28, 2020.

Are other jurisdictions prohibited from the use of EPS foam food product containers?

Yes. The City of Annapolis prohibited use of EPS food product containers on September 1, 2019 and the State of Maryland prohibition will be effective on July 1, 2020.

For more information on the prohibition on use of EPS food product containers, follow the link to Anne Arundel County Code § 11-6-103 Polystyrene Foam Products or call 410-222-7192.

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