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Our Second Chance to Go Styrofoam-Free

Ban bills return to Anne Arundel, Maryland 
      Another domino has fallen in the war on plastic, toppling close to home. 
      A bill banning polystyrene, the chemical that gave us Styrofoam, has been introduced for the second year in the Anne Arundel County Council. If passed, it will prohibit the use of food-service polystyrene products in the county by next January.
     Last year, this very same bill made its way through the council only to be vetoed by then-County Executive Steve Schuh, who claimed it a hardship for businesses.
     “The bill is the same,” said District Six Councilwoman and bill sponsor Lisa Rodvien. “There are so many things we need to do to help our environment. We hope this will be a relatively easy victory for a serious problem.” 
      Every place serving food would be affected. The ban includes obvious places like restaurants and food trucks and less obvious places like schools, among the largest Styrofoam users in the county.
      “If the bill passes, the Health Department and the Department of Public Works will begin education and outreach programs to assist businesses and schools with the change,” Rodvien said. “We want to give businesses time to use the rest of their supply and explore different options for new food-packaging materials.”
      There’s good reason to break the Styrofoam habit.
      One carcinogenic chemical, styrene, is so loosely contained it can leach into hot beverages and food. After use, polystyrene persists in the environment. The only way to get rid of the polymer is to burn it, releasing more toxic chemicals.
      The state of Maryland is keeping pace in considering joining Montgomery and other counties in catching onto the danger of polystyrene.
      A statewide ban bill has been introduced by Montgomery County Sen. Cheryl Kagan. 
       Should the bill pass, Maryland would become the first state in the country to ban Styrofoam.