2017 Maryland General Assembly Session Starts
January 11th marked the opening of the 2017 Maryland General Assembly legislative session. Blue Water Baltimore will be in Annapolis collaborating with fellow environmental advocates to ensure our local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay are protected. Over the next 90 days, we will be providing up-to-date information on this blog regarding important environmental legislation and how you can engage with our advocacy effort.
This session, Blue Water Baltimore is partnering with Trash Free Maryland on a bill to phase out the use of polystyrene (Styrofoam) food service to-go packaging. Polystyrene is the most toxic food packaging on the market and negatively affects human and environmental health. From a public health standpoint, EPA estimates 100% of Americans have the toxic monomer styrene in their bodies, and one of the principal forms of exposure to this toxin is consuming food that has come in contact with polystyrene foam packaging, such as to-go containers. It is also a significant source of litter. In Baltimore, polystyrene packaging is the second most common form of trash collected by the Harbor Water Wheel next to cigarette butts.
We believe it is imperative to protect Maryland consumers from polystyrene while increasing access to affordable and safer alternatives. This bill will also create consistency throughout Maryland: Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties have already successfully passed legislation eliminating the use of polystyrene in food packaging. This new legislation will build on the current momentum to support public and environmental health statewide. With this minor change in policy to eliminate polystyrene and replace it with safer alternatives, we can significantly improve the health of our waterways and look forward to supporting its passage.