Maine Becomes First State to Ban Styrofoam in Stores, Restaurants

Maine will become the first state to ban businesses from using Styrofoam after Governor Janet Mills signed a bill into law Tuesday.

The ban will take effect in January 2021. The law bars restaurants, cafes, grocery stores, and caterers from using Styrofoam containers because they cannot be recycled in the state, CNN reports.

Maryland’s state legislature has also approved a bill to ban Styrofoam, also known as polystyrene, but it is unclear if Republican Governor Larry Hogan will sign the bill.

"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," Mills told WMTW. "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."

Those who violate the Maine law will be hit with a fine up to $100.

Activists call on more states to follow:

"Maine has proven itself an environmental leader once again, this time in eliminating disposable foam containers that have become a common, costly, and deadly form of plastic pollution," Sarah Lakeman, the Sustainable Maine Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said in a statement. "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."

States cracking down on plastic bags:

States like New York and California have recently banned single-use plastic bags from being used in stores.

"Every year, there are billions -- billions with a 'b' -- of bags that are thrown away after just one use," New York state Sen. Todd Kaminsky told WCBS. "The average plastic bag use is about 12 minutes ... we just have this disposable plastic craze and it is adding up."

Hawaii has local laws that prohibit plastic bags throughout the state. New York City has also banned the use of Styrofoam containers.

Of course, some red states have taken the opposite approach. Tennessee and Florida recently made it illegal for local governments to regulate the use of plastic bags.


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