Governor Janet T. Mills, the first woman Governor in Maine, has signed the first statewide foam ban into law. Beginning January 1, 2020, LD 289, prohibits the sale of disposable food serve containers made in whole or in part by polystyrene — commonly referred to as Styrofoam. While several other states have similar bills moving through the legislature, Maie is the first to put the law on the books. Maine will serve as an example for other states to follow.
Polystyrene foam is one of the worst forms of plastic pollution because it never fully degrades is not recyclable in Maine. A recent study found that of all of the polystyrene and other plastics ever made, 79% are currently in landfills or in our rivers, lakes and oceans. Scientists have found plastic fragments in literary hundreds of species, including 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species and 43% of all marine mammal species. Polystyrene breaks down easily in the environment and pieces of microplastic have been found in shellfish such as scallops, oysters, mussels and claims. It is estimated that seafood eaters consume up to 11,000 microplastic particles every year.
“Today, Maine has made history by becoming 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, from the Kennebec River to the gulf of Maine 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 the effort.
“Emergency Maine and our members are proud of our elected officials and Governor Janet T. Mills for sealing the deal and signing our first-in-the nation ban into foam law. We’re excited to see several other states follow our lead,” wrote Carissa Maurin, state director of Environment Maine in a press release.