Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Food Service Products Ban



During the 2019 legislative session the Maryland General Assembly passed Chapter 579 (Sections 9-2201 through 9-2207​ of the Environment Article, Annotated Code of Maryland) banning the use of food service products composed of expanded polystyrene (EPS), commonly referred to under the trademark name of Styrofoam.

EPS food service products (​e.g., cups, plates, bowls, trays, etc.) left in any food service inventory should be used by July 1, 2020, when the law goes into effect.  On or after July 1, 2020:
  • ​a person may not sell or offer for sale in the state an EPS food service product; and
  • a food service business or school may not sell or provide food or beverages in an EPS foodservice product.  UPDATE:  See June 11, 2020 Public​ Notice relating to the deadline on the use of EPS foodservice products.
MDE is tasked by the legislature to conduct outreach about the ban. The county departments of health or environmental protection will oversee the enforcement of the law, and have the authority to assess fines for noncompliance.

MDE has written to hundreds of stakeholders, including food service and retail associations, schools and institutions of higher education, hospitals and medical centers, and more, as part of our outreach about the EPS ban.  Additionally, MDE has developed Frequently Asked Questions with information about the new law.  Finally, Montgomery County has published a List of Recyclable and Compostable Alternatives for Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Ware​ that contains information about vendors and alternatives to EPS products.

Waiver Process

MDE may grant to a food service business or school a waiver from the law for a period of up to one year if the department determines that achieving compliance would present an undue hardship or a practical difficulty not generally applicable to other food service businesses or schools in similar circumstances​.

In order to request a waiver a written request, by email or letter, should be sent to MDE explaining why compliance with the ban would pose an undue hardship or practical difficulty not generally applicable to other food service businesses or schools in similar circumstances.  Waiver requests should be sent to:

John Sullivan​
Maryland Department of the Environment
Resource Management Program
1800 Washington Blvd, Suite 610
Baltimore, MD 21230-1719

Person, Food Service Business/School Granted EPS Waiver

Currently, MDE has not granted any EPS food service product waivers.

Links & Resources

Please contact the Land and Materials Administration​ by email or phone at 410-537-3314, if you have any questions.​