photo of polystyrene food containers

Gaithersburg Bans Polystyrene Food Service Products

photo of polystyrene food containersThe city of Gaithersburg is the latest to ban polystyrene disposable food service products. The new law went into effect this week, and effectively bans the sale and use of foam containers such as bowls, plates, trays, cartons, cups, egg cartons, loose fill packaging and more. Expanded polystyrene is not recyclable in Montgomery County.

“Creating a sustainable community is a key component of Gaithersburg’s strategic plan,” said Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman. “Joining Montgomery County in banning these materials that don’t break down in our landfills furthers our goal of protecting the environment and ensuring a high quality of life for future generations.”

The ordinance prohibits food service businesses from using #6-PS food service ware and requires them instead to use compostable or recyclable disposable food service ware. It prohibits the sale of #6-PS food service products and loose fill packaging (also known as packing peanuts), and also requires City agencies, contractors and lessees to use compostable or recyclable food service ware.

Enforcement is scheduled to begin January 1, 2017, allowing establishments an opportunity to deplete existing inventories.

Food service businesses impacted by this ordinance include full- and limited-service restaurants, fast food restaurants, cafes, delicatessens, coffee shops, supermarkets, grocery stores, vending trucks and carts, food trucks, and business and institutional cafeterias. The law applies to not-for-profit organizations, to all retailers within the city limits, to food service operated by or on behalf of the city of Gaithersburg and other businesses selling or providing food within the city for consumption on or off the premises.

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