COLUMBIA, Md (WMAR) — As of this week, all Maryland restaurants and schools will be banned from using foam containers.
Some businesses are getting ready to make the switch, but many already have.
"It’s just the right thing to do and it was time," said Victoria Gastro Pub bar manager Megan Purcell.
It’s been almost two years since the Victoria Restaurant Group, that owns Victoria Gastro Pub and Manor Hill Tavern, made the switch to compostable to-go products to be more environmentally friendly.
2 years to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
"As much as they are compostable, they are a little flimsy if they get wet but that’s easier managed. We put a liner in there," said Purcell.
Starting Thursday October 1st, all Maryland restaurants and schools will be required to follow suit.
The state will become the first in the country to ban foam containers.
"For the state of Maryland, I think it just shows how forward thinking it is with consumer waste and consumer products," said Purcell.
Styrofoam cannot be recycled so it’s considered an environmental issue.
The statewide ban was originally scheduled for July but because of the pandemic, state officials wanted to give restaurants more time to get ready.
There is already a foam ban in Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Prince George's counties as well as Baltimore City.
Also on Thursday, Howard County is requiring retailers charge 5 cents for plastic bags in another effort to be more sustainable.
Something Purcell says they’ve already done too. She said overall, the switch to eco-friendly products initially cost more but it was worth it.
"First to switch everything out, to get rid of all the product we already had, that was a pain but at this point at think we’ve absorbed whatever cost was initially an issue," said Purcell.
Local health departments can impose up to $250 in fines for businesses that violate the ban.