Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Prince George's County has gone polystyrene (commonly referred to as "Styrofoam") FREE!

Lots  of new laws affecting how we do business and how we live harmoniously with our environment.

Just in case you have not been keeping up, I am sharing with you one of those laws in hopes that you will review it and start applying it to your everyday life.

Here is what has changed:

Starting July 1, 2016, polystyrene (commonly referred to as "Styrofoam"), polystyrene loose fill packaging (also known as "packing peanuts") and other foam articles are not permitted for sale or use in Prince George's County.

Why the Ban?

To reduce the amount of polystyrene waste entering the landfill and local waterways, the County is requiring the use of non-foam food packaging products that are environmentally-friendly and for everyone to be "Foam Free in PGC."

Examples of Single-Use Foam Packaging that Cannot be Sold or Used

Food containers

Hot and cold beverage cups

The Law Does Not Apply To:

Food and beverages filled and sealed in foam containers prior to receipt by the food service business

Foam packaging for raw, uncooked or butchered meat, fish, poultry or seafood for off-premises consumption

What Can be Used or Sold?

There are many non-foam food packaging alternatives. Some examples include recyclable and compostable containers that are rigid plastic or paper-based. View a list of vendors that offer alternative and compliant products.

Who is Affected?

Businesses located in Prince George's County that sell or use foam products to provide food or beverages at any time are regulated by the ban. (Including, but not limited to the following.)

Cafes and delicatessens
Coffee shops
Convenience stores
Discount stores
Dollar stores
Fast food restaurants
Food carts or trucks
Full and limited-service restaurants
Pack and ship stores
Retailers and wholesalers selling disposable dishware, storage containers, packing materials and polystyrene products
Supermarkets and grocery stores


Warnings will be issued for the first violation.

A $250 fine will be issued for the second violation and a $1,000 fine for the third violation within a 12 month period.

Each day a violation exists is a separate offense.


DoE is here to help!

Need more information on being "Foam Free in PGC" or have additional questions not answered above? You may contact DoE Citizen Service Specialist Aaron Herbert at (301) 883-6210 or view the "Foam Free in PGC" FAQ.

Share information about being "Foam Free in PGC" with this informative handout that explains the law, examples of foam packaging that cannot be sold or used, and which businesses are affected.

Thank you for helping to reduce waste and save our environment.

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