Maine is the First State to Pass Laws Banning Commercial Use Of Styrofoam
Maine governor Janet Mills recently signed a law that bans businesses from using Styrofoam food containers. It will start effectively on Jan. 1, 2021, and forbids restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores and caterers from using the popular to-go containers because the state cannot recycle them.
Maine is the first U.S. state to enact such a law while debate surrounding the ban of disposable products such as plastic and Styrofoam has been taking place throughout the nation. States such as California and New York have banned single-use plastic bags while Florida and Tennessee make it illegal for local cities to control them.
Maryland lawmakers have approved several bills that ban polystyrene, but it’s not known if Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is going to sign it into law. The Maryland House bill was sponsored by Democratic delegate Brooke Lierman, with the intention of getting people to stop relying so heavily on single-use plastics.
According to Mills, polystyrene is unrecyclable like many other products. And, even though someone is finished drinking their coffee, the Styrofoam cup will take years to break down and pollute the environment. She said it hurts wildlife and can have a significant impact on the economy.
Democratic Rep. Stanley Zeigler is responsible for bringing the legislation to Maine lawmakers, and it also bans plastic beverage stirrers.
Anybody found in violation of the law could face a $100 or less fine.
National Resources Council of Maine Sustainable Director Sarah Lakeman said Maine has proven to be one of the leading states committed to environmental reforms – with the elimination of disposable foam containers that are costly and dangerous to the environment and wildlife.
She said it’s imperative that people do everything they can to limit their use and curb the use of single-use plastics.
According to the NRCM, the top 10 most commonly littered items in the nation is plastic foam food containers with over 256 million pieces of disposable foam plates, bowls, cups, trays and platters being used annually in the state.
15 Maine towns had already taken steps to ban foam food containers.
Trash Free Maryland Executive Director Ashley Van Stone said Styrofoam breaks up into smaller pieces, which makes it hard to clean up.
Van Stone said foam can also absorb toxins more rapidly than plastic, and marine life mistake it for food. The wildlife that consumes these toxins are often consumed by adults, which means people are consuming the toxins too.
Some companies have even developed their own programs to make a difference in the environment. Mpower Energy / Mpower Direct dedicates a substantial amount of money and marketing to educating consumers about sustainable living practices on their Mpower Energy Twitter page.