Maine steps up to become the first state to ban Styrofoam food containers

The state of Maine became the first to ban the use of Styrofoam food containers earlier this year after Governor Janet Mills signed the bill into law in an effort to curb the pervasiveness of single-use plastics.

Among the many single-use plastics, food containers are one of the worst because they are not reusable, nor are they recyclable, and so many people use them. Often, they end up polluting our lands and waterways. Maine relies on the great outdoors and the ocean as a large part of their economy, so taking care of it is a high priority. And that’s why Democratic state Rep. Stanley Zeigler proposed the ban in the state legislature.

While such a bill would have been vetoed by former Governor Paul LePage, Mills is a Democrat, which pretty much guaranteed she would do the right thing by signing it into law as part of the ongoing effort to fight climate change.

The new law will take effect on January 1, 2021, which means all area businesses that use Styrofoam containers for food service must find an alternative, preferably one that won’t pollute the environment for decades. If they don’t, they risk being fined.

Maine is already renowned for its clean air and water and pristine shorelines that showcase precisely why the state is so popular with tourists who yearn for an outdoor adventure, which helps explain why the state recently partnered with Tentr to offer ready-made campsites people can rent to experience the best Maine has to offer.

Now, the state is adding to its environmental legacy.

“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,” Natural Resources Council of Maine Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Lakeman said in a statement. “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.”

Single-use plastics like Styrofoam break down into microplastics over a long period of time, which wreak havoc on the food chain from the smallest organism to the largest. The plastics have even invaded our own bodies, affecting our own health in the process.

Knowing that, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to keep using Styrofoam, much less keep using it as a food container. Several towns across the state had already taken the initiative to ban it prior to the state following suit. Now Maine can be an example to the rest of the nation on what it looks like to do something real to protect our environment, our health and fight climate change.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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