Just three days before we celebrated America’s independence, PG County initiated our freedom from a lesser know menace: expanded polystyrene (EPS), more well known by a certain brand name, styrofoam.
EPS is often used in cups to serve hot beverages, carry out food, or package goods for transport (in peanut form). But it’s not economical to recycle EPS so it end up in landfills where it takes hundreds of years to biodegrade. Even worse, styrofoam often just winds up as litter on our city streets and parks, where it is an eyesore and a great water-collecting mosquito breeding ground. Wherever EPS goes, it leaches into our water system and can poison fish, birds, sea turtles, etc.
The new rule means that businesses, particularly restaurants, cannot legally provide EPS to customers. The exceptions are when food is prepared off site, prepackaged, or raw meat. PG County has started a massive outreach to business but not everyone may have gotten the memo. That’s where you come in. If you order take out in PG County and still get styrofoam containers, there are several things you can do:
- Tell the business about the ban. They just might not know.
- Call PG County 311, visit http://countyclick.princegeorgescountymd.gov, or use the CountyClick311 app to submit a complaint.
- If all else fails, order elsewhere.