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Maine is the first US State leading the way with a total statewide ban on polystyrene

Source: Pixabay

While there have been citywide bans on different kinds of plastic bags and packaging, Maine is forging ahead with a total statewide ban on plastic foam.

Maine’s ban on polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, goes into effect in 2021

Food containers made of Styrofoam, also known as polystyrene or plastic foam, will be officially banned from businesses in Maine after governor Janet Mills signed a bill into law Tuesday. The law, which will go into effect January 1, 2021, prohibits restaurants, caterers, coffee shops and grocery stores from using the to-go foam containers because they cannot be recycled in Maine. Maine has become the first state to take such a step as debate about banning plastic bags or other disposable products is spreading across the United States.

Congratulations Maine on being the first state to ban Styrofoam Maine’s Styrofoam ban is part of a larger wave of cities and states trying to cut down on pollution by implementing regulations that affect consumers. California, Hawaii, and New York have all passed legislation banning single-use plastic bags, though New York’s law doesn’t go into effect until 2020. Source: Facebook/ATTN:

Maine becomes first state to ban Styrofoam

Maine just became the first state to ban Styrofoam food containers. The bill, which was signed into law last week and goes into effect in January 2021, prohibits convenience stores, restaurants, grocery stores, farm stands, and coffee shops from using containers made of polystyrene, which is more commonly referred to as Styrofoam.

“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,” Maine Gov. Janet Mills told CNN affiliate WMTW 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.”

Foam food containers made of polystyrene are among the 10 most commonly littered items in the US, and more than 256 million pieces of disposable Styrofoam products are used every year in Maine, according to the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Maine’s Styrofoam ban is part of a larger wave of cities and states trying to cut down on pollution — and possibly stave off the worst effects of climate change — by implementing regulations that affect consumers. 

California, Hawaii, and New York have all passed legislation banning single-use plastic bags, though New York’s law doesn’t go into effect until 2020. 

A number of American cities, including Boston and Chicago, have also banned single-use plastic bags, while others have begun charging consumers for them. 

Plastic straw bans were also gaining ground last year, with several cities passing plastic straw ordinances. The European Union, meanwhile, finalised an agreement to reduce consumption of all single-use plastics, including Styrofoam, by 2021.

Source: Vox

Polystyrene foams are 95-98%. They are good thermal insulators and are therefore often used as not or cold takeaway food and beverage containers.
A closeup of expanded polystyrene foam Polystyrene foams are 95-98%. They are good thermal insulators and are therefore often used as not or cold takeaway food and beverage containers. Source: Wikipedia

Those who violate the law could face a fine of up to $100

The Maine law also applies to plastic beverage stirrers. Those who violate the law could face a fine of up to $100, News Center Maine reports.

"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), 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."

The NRCM reports that plastic foam food containers are among the top 10 most commonly littered items in the US.

More than 256 million pieces of disposable foam cups, plates, bowls, platters, and trays are used every year in Maine, the NRCM says.

Some 15 towns in the state have already banned foam food containers, it states.

The reason why Styrofoam is difficult to clean up is that it easily breaks into smaller pieces, according to Ashley Van Stone, executive director of Trash Free Maryland.

Foam also absorbs toxins faster than other plastics and is mistaken for food by marine life, Van Stone said. And the toxins that wildlife consumes makes its way up the food chain into people.

Source: CNN

Check out more BrightVibes stories on US plastic and polystyrene bans

SAN FRANCISCO CITY BANS THE SALE OF PLASTIC BOTTLES—learn more

NEW YORK TO BAN PLASTIC BAGS; SECOND STATEWIDE BAN AFTER CALIFORNIA—learn more

MARYLAND MAY BECOME FIRST US STATE TO BAN STYROFOAM CUPS AND FOOD CONTAINERS—learn more

NEW YORK CITY BANS STYROFOAM—learn more

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