Maryland (Finally) Goes #FoamFree!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2020
Sen. Cheryl C. Kagan
District 17 (Rockville & Gaithersburg)
Beginning tomorrow, Maryland implements its Expanded Polystyrene Foam (“Styrofoam”) ban on food and beverage packaging. With carefully crafted legislation sponsored by Senator Cheryl Kagan (D/17) and Delegate Brooke Lierman (D/46), this is the result of a three-year effort with environmental and community advocacy groups that yielded bipartisan support. Ultimately, the bill became law without Governor Hogan’s signature.
“This first-in-the-nation ban
is an important step toward eliminating harmful environmental waste,” says Kagan. Styrofoam uses non-renewable resources from petroleum-based products; absorbs more chemicals than other plastics; and cannot be effectively recycled– littering our streets and waterways. Polystyrene products make up as much as 40% of trash debris. As it breaks into tiny pieces, fish and other animals eat Styrofoam thinking it is food; people then eat those animals, ingesting the chemicals. The cycle causes permanent damage to our health and our ecosystems.
The ban was to take effect July 1, 2020. Just days before and without justification, Gov. Hogan used the unrelated Coronavirus pandemic to postpone implementation by three months.
At last, Styrofoam food packaging will no longer be permitted across Maryland. Other states including California, Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont have passed or are considering legislation regarding these petroleum-based products. “I am proud that Maryland is at the forefront of this movement,” said Kagan. “With our state’s commitment to the environment and reliance on the Chesapeake Bay, it is exciting that tomorrow we will become #FoamFreeMD.”
Senator Kagan (D-District 17) is in her second term representing Gaithersburg and Rockville. She is Vice Chair of the Education, Health, & Environmental Affairs Committee. Kagan has earned a reputation as an independent-minded legislator with a strong voice for her constituents on environmental issues, election reform, public safety, consumer protection, and more. Her concern for the environment and sustainability led the Maryland League of Conservation Voters to name her a “Green Champion” and presented her with the 2019 Legislator of the Year Award (along with Del. Lierman). Kagan is active on social media and can be found on Facebook at Sen. Cheryl Kagan, on Twitter at @CherylKagan, and on Instagram at @CherylCKagan.