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Proposed Bill Would Ban Styrofoam Products In Effort To Reduce Litter

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore is seriously considering a ban on Styrofoam cups and containers.

Alex DeMetrick reports–the goal is less litter on land and in the water.

It’s so common, it’s scarcely noticed. Until it rains.

Then, Styrofoam cups, plates, bowls and containers join the massive flow of street litter that washes onto storm drains to pollute the Inner Harbor and bay.

How much of it is Styrofoam?

“There’s been various surveys done, but it’s been shown to be about 20 and 30 percent of the total litter that ends up in the harbor,” said Tine Neyers, Baltimore Harbor waterkeeper.

To reduce that litter, Baltimore is considering a ban on Styrofoam products most commonly used by restaurants and carry-outs.

“Green is definitely trending all over the country and all over the industry. So I think this is coming one day,” said Jimmy Filipidis, Jimmy’s Restaurant.

Hopefully later than sooner for soon.

At restaurants like Jimmy’s in Fells Point, carry-out business is relatively small. But so are profit margins, and alternatives to Styrofoam cost more.

“A compostable product, that’s with a machine glaze on that’s biodegradable, that’s about triple the cost of what we use now,” said Filipidis.

“Those alternatives do not persist in the environment as long as Styrofoam. Styrofoam’s actually been shown to last over hundreds of years,” Neyers said.

“The price is completely prohibitive for us. We can’t use it because it’s just too expensive,” said Drew Pumphrey, The Smoking Swine.

At The Smoking Swine food truck, everything dished up goes into Styrofoam. Upgrading from an eight cent container to a 32 cent one adds up when 150 meals a day are served.

“Styrofoam’s kind of got us,” Pumphrey said.

If the Styrofoam ban happens:

“I hope the city decides to also enforce the littering laws,” said Filipidis.

Because even without Styrofoam, there’s still plenty of other trash that floats.

The bill to ban some Styrofoam products will be taken up by the entire City Council next Monday.

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