Bill Ignores Litter and Fails to Protect Environment
Does Not Move the Needle on Saving the Bay; Only Causes Harm
Today the Maryland Senate passed a bill to ban Styrofoam. It bans the distribution of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) food service products in the State under the guise of making Maryland the first state to be “foam free”. Proponents of the bill touted that it would reduce waste and result in cleaner communities. Through extended debate it was made abundantly clear that the notion of a “Foam Free Maryland” is a hollow promise at best and blatantly deceptive at worst.
“This legislation is a ‘feel good’ bill that carries no weight and ultimately does little to move the needle on removing foam from the market,” said Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings (R- 7, Baltimore and Harford).”
Amendments were offered to create a Litter Study to figure out the exact litter makeup of the State. SB 285 taps these alternatives as “preferable litter” and triples the weight of trash in landfills. Pushing small businesses and farms into “preferable”, and potentially less recyclable, products may lead to increased environmental impacts. The notion that some litter is considered “preferable” to others is ludicrous and seemingly counterintuitive to the bravado of the bill.
Other amendments offered would exempt jurisdictions that initiate a recycling program for EPS. An amendment was even offered to exempt egg cartons so that our egg farmers in Maryland would not be affected. The bill exempts food that has been packaged and sealed outside the State, due to Interstate Commerce Clauses. The Maryland Farm Bureau reports that 90% of all eggs sold in Maryland are from out-of-state egg producers.
State Republican Senators stood in opposition and repeatedly implored the Senate body to reconsider. “This bill does not move the needle at all on protecting the environment. And it is going to be a tremendous inconvenience on the little guy… let’s reconsider this ill-conceived policy” said Senator Justin Ready (R-5, Carroll). “Our actions speak much larger than our words… I hope that you stand up and protect agriculture, Maryland’s largest commercial industry” added Senator Jack Bailey (R-29, St. Mary’s), who also noted the negative effect that this legislation would have on the state’s small farms and implored his colleagues to reconsider and to take more time to think about the “little guy”.