Restaurants, grocery stores and other food vendors in Maryland are getting three more months to comply with a statewide ban on foam containers.

Lawmakers approved the prohibition last year. It was set to take effect July 1, but the Department of the Environment has postponed its enforcement until Oct. 1. The delay is needed because establishments didn’t use up their foam inventories during the coronavirus lockdown, Secretary Ben Grumbles said.

Discarded cup on sand

Litter washes ashore on a Chesapeake shoreline in Maryland.

“This is solely about finding a modest accommodation for those in need in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, while upholding an important new environmental law that could become a model for many other states,” Grumbles said.

The law bars the use of cups, plates, trays and take-out containers made from a type of single-use foam technically known as polystyrene. The measure’s ban on its sale remains in effect beginning July 1, according to an MDE public notice.

The law authorizes counties to enforce the ban. Violators can be fined up to $250 per infraction. Some local governments in the state have enacted their own foam bans, including the city of Baltimore, whose regulation went into effect last October.

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