Ban on Foam Products

Bill Sponsors: Delegate Brooke Lierman, Senator Cheryl Kagan

Bill Numbers: House Bill (HB 538/SB 651)

Actions You Can Take

Has your congregations stopped using Styrofoam cups and plates? We are collecting the names of congregations who have stopped using Styrofoam. This will help show legislators that many in the faith community already are moving away from Styrofoam. 

Call Your Representative - click here for your state representative's phone number and use the Phone Script if you want

Template Letter - download this sample letter, customize it from your own points of view, and send it to your state representatives

For too long, we have been wasteful and mindless in our use of natural resources. Maryland is ready for positive Right_thing_to_Do.jpgchange.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in a wasteland.” Isaiah 43: 16-21

Polystyrene foam, commonly known as “Styrofoam,” is a widely-used product derived from petrochemicals. Thus its production uses non-renewable resources and contributes to atmospheric pollution. Also, Styrofoam never breaks down, but breaks up into increasingly small particles that absorb toxics due to their carbon-based makeup. Fish and wildlife consume the pieces mistaking it for food. This bio-accumulation of toxicity is a risk to the food chain. In other words, this foam contributes to “a wasteland.”

It is our moral duty to be good caretakers of the Earth and its resources. God calls us to continually renew ourselves, improve our behaviors, and be open to new ways of doing things that are more mindful of future generations. This is an important legislation that would move Maryland in a positive direction. 

Maryland will be considering a ban on foam so that:

  • No establishment or institution would be able to serve food in foam containers. This includes not only restaurants, but also schools/universities and nonprofits such churches. Restaurants will also be banned from using foam containers for carryout or "doggie bags".
  • Packaging peanuts made of foam would not be sold in stores.
  • Picnic supplies such as foam plates and foam cups would not be sold in stores.

BanTheFoam1_original.jpgThe legislation would be enforced by individual County Health Departments, and the Maryland Department of Environment would lead outreach/educational efforts as part of their ambitious 25-year Zero Waste Plan. The bill will also offer hardship provisions for small businesses for which this legislation would cause undue financial hardship. Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Washington, D.C. already have a fully implemented foam ban, after which this statewide legislation is modeled. 

IPC supports legislation to encourage people to change their habitual use of wasteful products that demand oil for production and generate a wasteland of trash. We must live in harmony with all of Creation around us. IPC envisions a time when our children and grandchildren will no longer use non-degradable foam products! It is time for all of Maryland to “do a new thing!”

Click here for a fact sheet about the ban on polystyrene.