Starting July 1, 2016, polystyrene (commonly referred to as "Styrofoam™"), polystyrene loose fill packaging (also known as "packing peanuts") and other foam articles are not permitted for sale or use in Prince George's County.
Why the Ban?
To reduce the amount of polystyrene waste entering the landfill and local waterways, the County is requiring the use of non-foam food packaging products that are environmentally-friendly and for everyone to be "Foam Free in PGC."
Examples of Single-Use Foam Packaging that Cannot be Sold or Used
- Food containers
- Hot and cold beverage cups
The Law Does Not Apply To:
- Food and beverages filled and sealed in foam containers prior to receipt by the food service business
- Foam packaging for raw, uncooked or butchered meat, fish, poultry or seafood for off-premises consumption
What Can be Used or Sold?
There are many non-foam food packaging alternatives. Some examples include recyclable and compostable containers that are rigid plastic or paper-based. View a list of vendors that offer alternative and compliant products.
Who is Affected?
Businesses located in Prince George's County that sell or use foam products to provide food or beverages at any time are regulated by the ban. (Including, but not limited to the following)
- Cafes and delicatessens
- Coffee shops
- Convenience stores
- Discount stores
- Dollar stores
- Fast food restaurants
- Food carts or trucks
- Full and limited-service restaurants
- Pack and ship stores
- Retailers and wholesalers selling disposable dishware, storage containers, packing materials and polystyrene products
- Supermarkets and grocery stores
Warnings will be issued for the first violation.
A $250 fine will be issued for the second violation and a $1,000 fine for the third violation within a 12 month period.
Each day a violation exists is a separate offense.
DoE is here to help! Need more information on being "Foam Free in PGC" or have additional questions not answered above? Contact Vaughn Barkdoll at FoamFreePGC?co.pg.md.us or view the "Foam Free in PGC" Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).
If you are a business interested in receiving information on how to comply with the law or apply for a hardship, please dial 311 to contact County Click.
Help Spread the Word
Share information about being "Foam Free in PGC" with this informative handout (PDF) that explains the law, examples of foam packaging that cannot be sold or used, and which businesses are affected.