Maryland creates law to ban Styrofoam

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Maryland creates law to ban Styrofoam

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Mikayla Cantine, Staff Writer

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Beginning in 1954, the United States has increasingly put use to a substance composed of environmentally dangerous chemicals, more widely known as Styrofoam (thoughtco.com). 

Around 1941, scientist Ray McIntire of Dow Chemical Company accidentally invented the substance when trying to create a flexible electrical insulator. McIntire mixed an effective insulator known as polystyrene with a liquid called isobutylene. His intentions were to create a new kind of rubber. Instead, McIntire formed a bubblier foam called polystyrene, three times lighter than liquid polystyrene and composed of 98 percent air (thoughtco.com). 

Despite the material’s light weight and insulating benefits, Styrofoam has too many dangerous and harmful effects on the environment to disregard. Therefore, Maryland has become the first state to create a ban on Styrofoam. The ban will take effect July 1, 2020. This includes the banning of foam food packaging from places such as restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and grocery stores. There will be an exception for things such as meat packaging. Consequences for violating the ban will be a fine of $250 (nationalgeographic.com). 

This law was passed by the state’s legislative chambers on the week of April 5. The number of votes was enough to override a potential veto of Governor Larry Hogan, but he has not revealed whether he is for or against the law. 

Other cities have already banned foam containers such as Seattle, Portland, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and other cities in California. Before Maryland’s final decision was made, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counthad already placea ban on the material as well (nationalgeographic.com). 

Maryland Retailers Association opposed this legislation due to its great use in the food industry and possible financial issue for small businesses. Its lightweight, inexpensive, and insulating properties are what make the product beneficial to the world today. The complete eradication of this material is likely to cause some conflict, but overall, the state will learn the importance of sustainability (nationalgeographic.com).