RICHMOND — Virginia's General Assembly voted Wednesday to ban expanded polystyrene food containers beginning July 1, 2023, for large businesses and organizations.

The foam container ban would extend to all prepared food vendors on July 1, 2025, if it is signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

The state Senate initially resisted the measure, worrying that it would harm small businesses by forcing them to pay for an alternative to the popular but non-biodegradable type of packaging. A compromise called for the ban to apply to state and local government groups as well as businesses — which means public schools could not use them either.

Both the Senate and the House of Delegates approved the measure Wednesday, sending it to Northam’s desk. Maryland became the first state in the country to enact such a ban when it went into effect last year. More than a dozen cities or states around the country have similar bans.