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Baltimore banning plastic foam containers with new law

A cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee and a doughnut bag sit on a counter Sept. 7, 2006, in Chicago, Illinois.

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BALTIMORE -- Carryout food and drink containers made from plastic foam are no longer welcome in the city of Baltimore. Mayor Catherine Pugh signed a bill Thursday giving businesses 18 months to stop using containers made from polystyrene foam.

It also prohibits restaurants and other food vendors from using cups, plates, dishes, bowls and trays or any similar items made from this material. After that, businesses will face $1,000 fines for violations.

The City Council unanimously passed the bill last month after it was introduced by Councilman John Bullock. Versions that previously failed had offered businesses just three months to phase out the containers.

Students' efforts contributed to the success of the bill, CBS Baltimore station WJZ-TV reports.

"We talk about the chemicals getting into the food, especially hazardous for our children, who are the most vulnerable," Pugh said.

But there was also an environmental concern with cups and containers ending up in Baltimore waterways and the city's Inner Harbor.