New Prince George’s County legislation (CB-52-2019) bans straws and stirrers that are not reusable or meet the home-compostable standard.
Food service businesses are prohibited from selling, distributing, or otherwise providing a straw or stirrer with food or beverage unless they are reusable or compostable.
Retail businesses are prohibited from selling, distributing, or otherwise providing a straw or stirrer directly to consumers unless they also have for sale a straw or stirrer meeting the home-compostable standard.
Plastic straws and stirrers are not recyclable, are a major component of roadside and marine litter, and do not decompose in the natural environment. They wash into the waterways and oceans, polluting the water and killing marine life as they break into smaller and smaller pieces. Used for a short time, they remain in the environment forever. There are alternatives with less environmental impact – reusable straws, paper straws that decompose in the environment, and dispensing with straws altogether when not needed. This ban contributes to the County’s source reduction efforts in its 10-Year Solid Waste Management Plan and addresses objectives of Maryland’s 2014 Zero Waste Plan.
What products can be used instead of single-use plastic straws and stirrers?
Alternatives with less environmental impact include paper and other straws that are “home compostable”; and reusable straws made from metal, glass, bamboo, silicone, or rigid plastic. Stirrers made of wood are home compostable. Another option is to discontinue the use of straws altogether when not needed.
How will the law be enforced?
Prince George’s County Recycling Inspectors will conduct random visits to Food Service and/or Retail Businesses and will issue warnings and/or fines to food service providers using non-compliant products starting January 1, 2021.
For more information, please contact the Department of Environment, Recycling Section, Inspection Unit at (301) 883-3635 or visit our website www.princegeorgescountymd.gov