The Purge the Plastic campaign, which ended June 1, 2020, asked businesses and organizations in Maryland to share ways they have reduced single-use plastics in the workplace. Names were pulled for a prize drawing and the winners received waste-free items including bamboo utensil sets, and products from fellow members Echotopia and Half Moon Wax Wraps. The winners, Baltimore County Community Tool Bank, Living Word Ambassador Church, The Grooming Place Pet Shop, and Towson University, all shared the creative and unique ways they have approached plastic use reduction in their operations and facilities.
The real prize, course, is the reduction of material waste and litter around your property and beyond; the protection of aquatic life; lower waste collection costs; and the opportunity to serve as a community role model. Thank you to all the organizations who took part in the campaign. We hope you will continue to use the list of practices below to continue to reduce your organization's plastic footprint.
What is "problematic and unnecessary" plastic?
Note that the European Union’s single-use plastics ban, which goes into effect in 2021, includes the following items: cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks), plates, straws, stirrers, cotton swabs with plastic stems, sticks for balloons, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, and all products made of oxo-degradable plastic, which breaks down into microplastics.
Taking inventory of the type, amount, and cost of these
items will help build awareness and establish a baseline for setting goals. Here
are some tools to help you get you started:
EPS is non-biodegradable, difficult to recycle, and often ends up in the environment where it breaks into pieces that are easily ingested by wildlife. Note that a number of local jurisdictions in Maryland have already passed polystyrene bans, but on July 1, 2020, a statewide ban will go into effect prohibiting food service businesses, including restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, food trucks and school cafeterias from using most foam products (cups, plates, bowls and clamshell containers).
Deflated balloons often end up on land and in bodies of waters where they are mistaken by wildlife for food. If you do use balloons, be sure to use them only indoors and cut the balloons and strings into pieces before disposing. Note that Queen Anne's County has banned the release of nonbiodegradable (latex and Mylar) helium balloons.
Trash Free Maryland is a nonprofit organization focused on lasting
change to prevent trash pollution and was active in the statewide EPS foam ban.
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230