This letter, and a list of all signatories, will be sent to all Members of House Environment and Transportation Committee, and Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. To learn more about Ban on Foam legislation, click here.
Ban on Polystyrene Foam Containers
House Bill 109
Senate Bill 285
We people of faith respect the Earth and the web of life, and strive to be good shepherds of the Earth's resources. We are grateful for the ways the Maryland Assembly worked to protect our environment, but more needs to be done. Maryland is ready to ban foam.
Polystyrene food containers may be convenient and cheap for food services, but when they are discarded they become an eyesore in our neighborhoods, streams and streets. This non-biodegradable material persists indefinitely in the environment and accumulates over time.
Foam never breaks down. Instead it 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.
Foam waste is particularly oppressive to low-income, under-served communities. Foam is more commonly used in takeout restaurants, which are disproportionately present in food deserts, increasing the frequency of exposure to harmful chemicals to individuals within food desert areas, and the likelihood of foam litter to impact the mental health of those residents when improperly discarded. Studies have also shown the presence of microplastics in fish, birds and other marine life, tap and bottled water, table salt, and beer. In 2018, the first study examining human stools found the presence of microplastics. This risk is even greater for low-income neighbors who rely on subsistence fishing to supplement their diet.
Polystyrene is a polymer plastic derived from petroleum. Its production uses non-renewable resources and contributes to atmospheric pollution. There are perfectly good packaging alternatives available now that are lightweight, biodegradable, safe for consumers and have good insulating properties to keep food and drinks warm or cold.
We understand that this ban would require that cafeterias in our places of worship no longer serve food in foam containers. We embrace this change and stand willing to do our part to help our congregations adapt to this legislation.
God calls us to continually renew ourselves and improve our behaviors to be more mindful of future generations. This is important legislation that will reduce trash, drive innovation to alternative materials, and cut down on fossil fuel consumption.
Please support the Ban on Foam.