Ban on Polystyrene Food Service Ware and Loose Fill Packaging

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The Montgomery County Council has enacted Council Bill 33-20. What does this bill do?

Full text of Bill 33-20 (PDF, 610KB)

Bill 33-20 Fact Sheet (PDF, 455KB)

Polystyrene (#6-PS) products, such as foam and non-foam/rigid containers, bowls, plates, trays, cartons, cups, egg cartons, etc. are not recyclable in Montgomery County, Maryland. In 2015, the Montgomery County Council enacted and the County Executive signed Council Bill 41-14. This legislation effectively banned the use and sale of this material in the County. Subsequently in 2020, the County Executive proposed and the County Council enacted Bill 33-20, which clarifies the requirements initially passed in 2015.  While the requirements in Council Bill 41-14 remain in effect, the clarifications pertaining to the existing requirements in Council Bill 33-20 also become effective on January 1, 2022.
  • Prohibits food service businesses from using any polystyrene (#6 PS) food service ware.
  • Prohibits the sale of any polystyrene food service products and polystyrene loose fill packaging (also known as packing peanuts).
  • Requires all county agencies, contractors, and lessees to use compostable or recyclable food service ware.
  • Requires all other food service businesses to use compostable or recyclable disposable food service ware.

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 and federal, state and local government facilities.
  • 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 , City of Rockville, and the City of Gaithersburg.

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 is reviewed and updated annually.
Also see materials we accept for recycling.

See materials we accept for recycling.

Download educational materials I can use at my business pertaining to the #6 polystyrene requirements.