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article imageMaine has become first state to ban the use of polystyrene

By Karen Graham     May 1, 2019 in Environment
Bangor - Food containers made of polystyrene - incorrectly called styrofoam - will be officially banned from businesses in Maine after Governor Janet Mills signed a bill into law Tuesday.
Under the new law that goes into effect on January 1, 2021, businesses and organizations will not be allowed to process, prepare, sell, or provide food or beverages to customers with the one-use containers because they cannot be recycled in the state.
The bill - H.P. L.D. 289 213 was originally proposed by Representative Stanley Zeigler (D-Montville) and is designed to limit plastic pollution in the state and Gov. Mills' signature on this historic bill comes after months of debate on the use of polystyrene containers in the state.
Over 150 municipalities across the region have already banned the use of the foam food containers, including 14 towns in Maine, according to the Natural Resources Council of Maine. the foam containers have been banned in state facilities since 1990, so there is some precedent.
Polystyrene on the public footpath - 1 Looking south-east along the riverside path. Sitting squarely...
Polystyrene on the public footpath - 1 Looking south-east along the riverside path. Sitting squarely on the footpath, this looks like an expanded polystyrene float protected by glass fibre reinforced concrete, which is often used in marinas. Here, the block has been washed up from a Severn Flood, then damaged (easy to flake off pieces once the outer skin is damaged). Not bio-degradable, this will need clearing up at some stage!
Trevor Rickard / Polystyrene on the public footpath
The debate over plastics and disposable containers goes on
Several states, including California and New York, have banned the use of single-use plastic bags, while Tennessee has introduced legislation to make it illegal for local municipalities to regulate their use. If the legislation passes, the state will join 11 others, including Florida, Idaho, and Wisconsin in making "bans on bans."
And in Maryland, the Legislature has approved bills to ban polystyrene cups and food containers. If a final measure is passed and the governor signs it, Maryland will become the second state to ban the one-use containers. However, it's unclear whether Republican Gov. Larry Hogan will sign the bill, notes CNN News.
A spokesman for the governor said Hogan is "always willing to consider any piece of legislation that reaches his desk."
In a statement to CNN affiliate WMTW, Governor Mills said: “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. 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.”
More about polystyrene, styrofoam, Maine, ban on polystyrene, Maryland
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