By Joshua Margolis, NBC Montana
HELENA, Mont. — As Friday’s transmittal deadline looms in Helena, legislators are working furiously to advance general bills out of their respective chambers before it’s too late.
In the House, the Business and Labor Committee put the brakes on a bill that would phase out the use of plastic foam containers for food-related businesses.
The application of House Bill 638, which was tabled Tuesday in a 13-6 vote following its hearing, would be gradual.
Beginning in 2026, plastic foam containers would be banned from being used for in-house serving.
By 2027, restaurants, resorts, casinos, and food establishments would no longer be able to serve or package prepared food in plastic foam containers.
And once 2028 rolls around, the prohibition would expand to in-state food packagers, except for meat and eggs.
This is the third straight legislative session the sponsor has introduced a bill like this. It’s failed to become law each time.
“Just like that foam coffee cup that’s sticking around in your favorite Montana lake, I haven’t been broken down. I’ll keep showing up. I’m durable and so are the many Montanans from across the state who care a lot about our outdoor economy and are serious about diminishing our waste streams in supporting innovation in Montana,” said State Rep. Marilyn Marler (D-Missoula), the bill’s sponsor.