Plastics are a part of nearly every aspect of modern life so while eliminating them may not be practical – or even advisable given the many benefits they offer – purging problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic in the workplace is a more manageable goal and an area where many Maryland Green Registry members are already leading the way.
The Purge the Plastic campaign asks businesses and organizations in Maryland - whether or not they are members of the Maryland Green Registry - to indicate which of the following plastic reduction practices your organization is implementing by checking off the boxes on this form and submitting it by June 1, 2020. Participants will be entered into a drawing for prizes including energy and water saving devices, bamboo utensil sets, mesh produce bags, and possibly a sustainability site assessment if COVID restrictions are lifted.
Of course, the real prize of reducing unnecessary plastics is the reduction of material waste, 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.
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.
To be entered into the Purge the Plastic prize drawing, indicate on this form which of the following steps your organization has taken to reject, reduce, reuse, replace and redesign plastic packaging and products in your workplace.
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