We knew it was coming sooner or later. For years it’s been fairly universal knowledge that polystyrene, or Styrofoam more commonly, has basically no valuable purpose beyond being a slightly thicker, semi-insulated way to carry around one’s leftovers. It’s non-biodegradable; it’s produced with materials toxic to animals; and it’s an all-around environmental hazard from most vantages.
Sooner or later, polystyrene was going to start getting banned on a more formal level, one beyond the individual restaurant phase-outs, most notably Dunkin, that have become increasingly common. Now, or at least as of January 1, 2020, Maine is the first U.S. state to institute an outright ban on the material. Violators would be subject to a fine of not more than $100. Governor Janet Mills formally signed LD 289, or “An Act to Prohibit the Use of Certain Disposable Food Service Containers”, into law on Tuesday. Numerous towns and cities have already instituted the ban.
In a public statement, Gov. Mills noted that “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. 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.”
We at The Takeout can only hope that Maine sets a precedent for the rest of the country with this news, because yeah, Styrofoam is subpar as both a food transportation device (all it takes is those two little teeth popping open for all hell to break loose) and an environmental hazard.
In other Maine health news, if you were curious, vaping on school grounds and/or at school-sponsored events will also now be banned. Sorry, edgy 15-year-olds.