Maine has officially become the first state in the United States to ban the use of Styrofoam, or polystyrene food containers.
The new bill was signed into law by Governor Janet Mills and states that from January 1, 2021, businesses and organizations in the state will be prohibited to use Styrofoam (polystyrene) containers for food or beverages.
The new law is a step in the right direction in reducing the amount of harmful non-recyclable plastics that are finding their way into ecosystems and food-chains around the world.
The single-use plastic has been popular in the manufacture of fresh meat and fish delivery boxes, takeout food containers, and coffee cups because it’s super cheap, doesn’t leak and is very sturdy for it’s weight.
The major problem with Styrofoam is that it never goes away. Scientists’ closest estimates are between 500-1 million years in order for it to break down into micro-particles, however it will never truly biodegrade.
And guess what? Styrofoam can’t be recycled!
Under the new law, businesses and organizations will not be allowed to process, prepare, sell, or provide food or beverages to customers with these single-use Styrofoam containers.
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The decision follows a months-long debate into the use and manufacture of Styrofoam food containers in Maine and surrounding areas.
The bill was proposed by Rep. Stanley Zeigler and is designed to limit the amount of plastic pollution in the state.
According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, over 150 regions have already banned this type of single use food containers, including 14 towns in Maine.
The new law is set to go into effect on January 1, 2021.
The full bill, as approved by Gov. Mills, reads as follows: