Prince George's County, Maryland Takes a Green Step: Restaurants Only Provide Single-Use Utensils Upon Request

In an effort to combat the growing issue of single-use plastic waste, Prince George's County, Maryland, has recently passed an innovative law that requires restaurants to withhold single-use foodware accessories unless specifically requested by customers. This move aims to reduce unnecessary plastic waste, promote sustainability, and encourage residents to adopt more eco-friendly practices.

The Plastics Problem

Plastic pollution has become a global concern, and single-use plastics contribute significantly to this crisis. From disposable cutlery to straws and containers, these items are used momentarily but can take hundreds of years to decompose. Unfortunately, they often end up in landfills, oceans, or as litter on our streets, posing severe threats to wildlife, ecosystems, and human health.

Prince George's County Leads the Way

Acknowledging the urgent need for action, Prince George's County has taken a significant step toward reducing single-use plastic waste. By enacting a law requiring restaurants to refrain from automatically providing disposable straws, utensils, condiment cups and packets, cup sleeves, splash sticks, stirrers, and napkins, the county aims to shift the community's mindset and encourage more sustainable practices. This approach puts the power in the hands of consumers, prompting them to be mindful of their choices and to opt-out of using single-use items whenever possible.

In compliance with this new regulation, all Sardi’s Peruvian Chicken locations in Prince George’s County will only be providing customers with single-use utensils, straws, napkins, and sauces upon request. These locations include Beltsville, Bowie, Capitol Heights, Clinton, Laurel, Oxon Hill, Langley Park, and Temple Hills.

The Law in Action

Under the newly implemented law, restaurants in Prince George's County are now required to only give single-use utensils, condiments, and straws upon request or at self-serve stations. This change is intended to raise awareness among consumers about the environmental impact of their choices and promote the use of reusable alternatives. Facilities that fail to comply will receive a warning at the first time violation, and hefty fines following any further violations. The county will start enforcement of regulation starting October 1, 2023.

Benefits for the Environment

The impact of this legislation goes beyond reducing plastic waste. By making single-use foodware accessories an "on-demand" item, the county expects a significant reduction in the production and distribution of these items. The purpose of this legislation is to: 

  • To reduce unnecessary waste generated from single-use disposable items in the retail food industry; 
  • Improve the health and safety of community members; and 
  • Help keep the waterways clean and safe.

Additionally, the law encourages a shift toward sustainable behavior, fostering a culture of conservation and mindful consumption among residents.

Supporting Local Businesses

While some restaurant owners may have concerns about potential inconveniences or increased costs associated with implementing this new practice, the law also presents an opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves as environmentally conscious establishments. By promoting eco-friendly initiatives, restaurants can attract environmentally conscious customers who appreciate their commitment to sustainability. Additionally, the reduced use of single-use utensils can lead to cost savings for businesses in the long run.

Prince George's County, Maryland, has taken a commendable step forward in the battle against plastic pollution by implementing a law that requires restaurants to provide single-use utensils only upon customer request or at self-serve stations. By fostering awareness and encouraging sustainable practices, the county aims to reduce plastic waste, lower its environmental footprint, and promote a more eco-conscious community. This legislation serves as a model for other regions and emphasizes the power of collective action in addressing environmental challenges. With similar measures in place, we can all contribute to a more sustainable planet for future generations. Learn more about Sardi’s Peruvian Chicken and how we strive to help give back to our community.