MAY 05, 2019 9:52 AM PDT

Maine is the first state to ban styrofoam

Maine has taken a significant step to battle the generation of waste products: banning Styrofoam. The bill, which was signed into law earlier this week by governor Janet Mills, will prohibit restaurants, caterers, coffee shops and grocery stores from using polystyrene (Styrofoam) containers starting January 1, 2021. Polystyrene cannot be recycled and ends up in landfills, producing greenhouse gas methane emissions that speed up climate change.

Maine is the first state to sign into law a ban against polystyrene. "Polystyrene cannot be recycled like a lot of other products, so while that cup of coffee may be finished, the Styrofoam cup it was in is not," Governor Mills said in a statement. "In fact, it will be around for decades to come and eventually it will break down into particles, polluting our environment, hurting our wildlife, and even detrimentally impacting our economy."

The ban will also prohibit the use of plastic beverage stirrers. And while the fine for violating the new law isn’t too steep (just $100), legislatures and environmental advocates alike hope it will be enough to greatly reduce waste in the state. Fifteen towns in Maine have gotten a head start on the law, having already banned foam food containers within town lines due to their negative environmental impact.

Take out containers create huge amounts of waste. Photo: Greenfield Recorder

"Maine has proven itself an environmental leader once again, this time in eliminating disposable foam containers that have become a common, costly, and deadly form of plastic pollution," said Sarah Lakeman, Sustainable Maine Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). "With the threats posed by plastic pollution becoming more apparent, costly, and even deadly to wildlife, we need to be doing everything possible to limit our use and better manage our single-use plastics — starting with eliminating the use of unnecessary forms like plastic foam."

According to the NRCM, over 256 million disposable foam cups, plates, bowls, platters, and trays are used every year in Maine, the great majority of which are single-use. This needs to change if we hope to put less pressure on our planet and Maine’s commitment to the cause should be a model to other states to move forward with similar regulations.

Sources: CNN, Vox

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
DEC 22, 2019
Earth & The Environment
DEC 22, 2019
Australia on fire
Australia is in a national state of emergency as fires ravage cities and rural areas around the country. One map circulating the media from the Government ...
JAN 20, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 20, 2020
Horned Lizards Do Anything to Protect Their Eggs From Predators
When a female horned lizard lays her eggs, she finds herself up against several predators that want to devour them. Fortunately, the female horned lizard d...
JAN 21, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 21, 2020
The sinking Everglades
New research from the American Society of Agronomy reports that the Everglades are sinking. According to scientists who have been studying the unique lands...
JAN 22, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 22, 2020
Repeated flooding accelerates levee breaking points
New research published in Engineering and Biology shows that repeated instances of flooding have dangerous and often invisible effects on levees. The study...
FEB 07, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 07, 2020
Earth's Magnetic Field Debuted Over 4 Billions Ago, and It was Much Stronger
The existence of a diverse atmosphere on our planet is crucial for life. On top of being in the goldilocks zone, another life-supporting feature of our Ear...
FEB 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 10, 2020
Mudskippers Aren't Like Most Fish...
Most fish spend almost all of their lives in a body of water, be it the ocean or some smaller lake or stream. Mudskippers, on the other hand, are a unique...
Loading Comments...