Maine first state to ban single-use foam

Friday, May 3, 2019
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

no foam containersMaine's efforts to ban single-use foam containers could come back to haunt the Pine Tree State.

Maine became the first state in the nation this week to ban polystyrene foam containers, the idea being the cups, bowls, and plates are harmful to animals and the environment.

"With the threats posed by plastic pollution becoming more apparent, costly, and even deadly to wildlife,” said Sarah Lakeman, Sustainable Maine director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine, “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."

While Gov. Janet Mills has signed the bill into law, it will not take effect until 2021 to allow time for businesses to adjust to the new requirements.

Jacob Posik, director of communications at The Maine Heritage Policy Center, says the new law undermines the free market in Maine.

"There is a reason why restaurants and other establishments use these products, (and) it's because they're cheap, they're efficient, and they do what they're supposed to do," Posik tells OneNewsNow. "We're upset because we've created a new mandate that will likely cause employers use more expensive products that could then result in higher prices that consumers have to pay."

It has been stated that polystyrene is non-recyclable, but Jeff Stier of the Consumer Choice Center says these foam products can indeed be recycled.

OneNewsNow interviewed Stier, a New York resident, after The Big Apple announced a ban on foam cups and containers.

EcoMENA, a volunteer-driven initiative to create mass environmental awareness and to foster sustainability worldwide, also says these thermoplastic products can be melted and molded into many different plastic items.

"People focus on litter and pollution but they don't think about what it costs environmentally to create these products individually," adds Posik. “That's something that we think has been kind of overlooked in these debates."

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