BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — Students from a dozen schools showed up to Baltimore City Hall Tuesday morning in support of a bill that would ban polystyrene foam, a substance more commonly known by its brand name, Styrofoam.
“Just a couple of weeks ago we go the school board to vote to switch to compostable trays,” student organizer Claire Wayner told WJZ. “So we’re looking to bring that victory to city hall, to put it on a Baltimore level.”
Styrofoam has long been used as an inexpensive convenience. But it isn’t free of other costs. It’s a major source of Baltimore’s litter, with much of it washing off streets and alleys and into the Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay. And it isn’t cheap to recycle.
According to another student organizer, Mercedes Thompson, “Styrofoam is recyclable, but it’s extremely difficult.”
“You have to collect all the Styrofoam, clean it, wash it and take it to a recycling facility,” Thompson says.
Talk of a Styrofoam ban has been around for years, but backers think this time is different.
“I think there is momentum,” says Blue Water Baltimore Executive Director Jenn Aiosa. “We are seeing a lot of interest in the business community. We are also delivering the testimony of over 100 businesses who say they are willing to make the change.”
Over the past three years, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland and the District of Columbia have imposed bans on polystyrene foam products.
More than 80 other cities across the country have also placed at least a partial ban on polystyrene foam.
A Judiciary and Legislative Investigations meeting on the polystyrene ban bill was scheduled to take place at Baltimore city hall at 10 a.m. Tuesday.