By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore City Council has passed a bill that bans plastic foam containers for carryout food and drinks.

Inexpensive and convenient, styrofoam cups and containers all too often become long-lasting litter in much of Baltimore — frequently washing into the Inner Harbor during heavy rains. But votes to ban styrofoam always fell short in the past.

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“At one time, I wasn’t supportive of this ban because I was thinking about the businesses in the city, the small businesses,” City Council President Jack Young said last month.

But then came a new bill giving restaurants and food vendors 18-months to phase out styrofoam containers, not the 90 days of earlier failed bills. At the end of that time, a $1,000 fine will be levied on businesses that don’t switch to other types of containers.

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That slower roll-out helped convince Young to back the legislation.

“Most businesses have already started phasing out styrofoam,” he said.

The bill easily passed two earlier readings. A third and final vote was approved unanimously by the City Council Monday night. Mayor Catherine Pugh says she will sign the measure into law.

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