We are writing on behalf of the members of our organizations to urge you to vote in favor of HB109/, Environment - Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Products - Prohibition, a statewide ban on expanded polystyrene foam food service packaging. Expanded polystyrene foam, commonly known as EPS foam, a significant contributor to litter in the state of Maryland. The insidious nature of EPS foam breaks up easily and renders it nearly impossible to adequately pick up from our waterways and neighborhoods. EPS foam is a microplastic, defined as “small plastic pieces less than five millimeters long which can be harmful to our ocean and aquatic life”. Studies have found microplastics in aquatic species in the Chesapeake bay, in our beer, and a study at the University of Maryland is assessing the impact on human health when we consume fish that have remnants of these microplastics.
EPS foam contaminates our waterways and streets, and is a product that if disposed of properly, can only end up in a landfill. Once in a landfill, it takes up space and does not degrade over time. Governor Hogan’s Executive Order on Zero Waste policies in Maryland requires the state to increase it’s diversion rates and decrease expansion of landfills. Banning this product, that can only end up in a landfill, if it’s not littered, will help meet Governor Hogan’s waste reduction goals.
As organizations representing environmental groups, businesses, faith-based groups, students, and more, we are calling on you to vote in favor of HB109. A statewide ban on EPS foam makes sense for the environment, for businesses, and for consumers. With three jurisdictions in Maryland already instituting successful EPS foam bans and 115 jurisdictions nationwide, Maryland should be the leader and move the state in a direction that the tide is taking us.
Sincerely,Trash Free Maryland