Styrofoam is one of the worst forms of single-use plastic there is. Not only is it rarely recyclable (few facilities do it and the waste has to meet certain strict conditions), but it also breaks down into very small pieces easily, making it difficult to collect. Those small pieces of Styrofoam present a danger both to wildlife as they often look like food and get eaten, and to humans via the food chain.
In an attempt to lessen the pollution generated by this plastic product, Styrofoam food containers are being banned by the state of Maine, thanks to a bill signed into law by Governor Janet Mills on Tuesday. When it goes into effect on January 1, 2020, Maine will become the first state to ban convenience stores, restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, seasonal or temporary businesses, and farm stands from using Styrofoam containers.
Sarah Lakeman of the Natural Resources Council of Maine said, “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.”
Establishments found to be in violation could face a fine of up to $100.