Ban on Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Ware and Loose Fill Packaging

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Report a business using expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam-type) food containers or not recycling

The Montgomery County Council has enacted Council Bill 41-14. What does this bill do?

Full text of Bill 41-14 (PDF)

Bill 41-14 Fact Sheet (PDF)

Expanded polystyrene (#6-PS) products, such as foam containers, bowls, plates, trays, cartons, cups, egg cartons, etc. are not recyclable in Montgomery County, Maryland. This legislation effectively bans the use and sale of this material in the County.

  • Prohibits food service businesses from using expanded polystyrene (also known as foam or Styrofoam™) food service ware, effective January 1, 2016.
  • Prohibits the sale of polystyrene loose fill packaging (also known as packing peanuts) and expanded polystyrene food service products, effective January 1, 2016.
  • Requires all county agencies, contractors, and lessees to use compostable or recyclable food service ware by January 1, 2016.
  • Requires all other food service businesses to use compostable or recyclable disposable food service ware by January 1, 2017.

Who must comply with this law?

  • All food service businesses, including full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, fast food restaurants, cafes, delicatessens, coffee shops, supermarkets, grocery stores, vending trucks or carts, food trucks, businesses or institutional cafeterias located in Montgomery County, Maryland. The law also applies to not-for-profit organizations.
  • All food service operated by or on behalf of Montgomery County departments and agencies, as well as other businesses selling or providing food within the County for consumption on or off the premises.
  • All retailers in Montgomery County, Maryland.

See polystyrene ban details for the City of Takoma Park

Where can food service establishments and retailers find a list of alternative food service ware products that are either recyclable or compostable?

We publish a list of vendors offering affordable recyclable or compostable food service ware products. The list will be reviewed and updated annually for at least 5 years.

See materials we accept for recycling.

How can I learn more about the requirements?

Attend one of our of educational webinars to learn more about how the law applies to food service establishments; County departments, agencies, contractors, or lessees; and retailers that use and/or sell expanded polystyrene food service ware and loose fill packaging.

We will post more dates shortly.

How can I dispose of remaining expanded polystyrene food service ware and loose fill packaging?

See our advice for disposing of expanded polystyrene products.

View presentation about the ban

Presentation recording


Presentation slides

Download presentation slides (PDF, 1 MB)

Download presentation slides (PDF, 561 kb)