AUGUSTA, Maine -- Today, the Maine Senate passed a statewide ban on polystyrene -- commonly referred to as Styrofoam -- cups and containers. With the House already having endorsed the bill, Maine now becomes the third state in the U.S. to pass a ban through the legislature, following Maryland and Vermont. With Gov. Janet Mills’ signature, Maine could become the first state to have a foam ban on the books. The governor has 10 days to act on the bill, or it becomes law.
Polystyrene foam is one of the worst forms of plastic pollution because it never fully degrades and is not recyclable in Maine. A recent study found that of all the polystyrene and other plastics ever made, 79 percent are currently in landfills or in our rivers, lakes and oceans. Polystyrene breaks down easily in the environment, and pieces of microplastic have even been found in shellfish such as scallops, oysters, mussels and clams. It is estimated that seafood eaters consume up to 11,000 microplastic particles every year.
Environment Maine’s director Carissa Maurin issued the following statement:
“Maine has a golden opportunity to become the first state in the country to ban single-use plastic foam. Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our rivers and oceans for centuries -- especially when there are alternatives.
“Last summer, Environment Maine staff knocked on doors from Bangor to Kittery, spoke with over 19,000 Mainers face-to-face about our campaign to put Wildlife over Waste by banning single-use polystyrene cups and containers, and collected 7,800 petition signatures in support of this effort.
“Environment Maine and our members are proud of our elected officials in the Senate for the vote they took today, and we urge Gov. Janet Mills to seal the deal and sign our first-in-the-nation foam ban into law.”
Environment Maine is a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization committed to defending our environment through independent research, tough-minded advocacy and spirited grassroots action.