Styrofoam

Our proposal:  To ban polystyrene foam (“Styrofoam”) for food and beverage containers at fast food stores, grocery stores, restaurants, food trucks and other food establishments.  Additionally, Styrofoam food and beverage ware could not be sold within town limits.  

Facts

  • Styrofoam breaks into small pieces, which do not biodegrade or decompose. Because it is lightweight, Styrofoam is easily carried by wind and storm drains to waterways and the ocean.
  • The small pieces are eaten by fish, harming or killing them, and plastic bits are found in seafood we people eat!
  • Styrofoam is not recycled in Maine, and rarely elsewhere, because there is no market, due to its light weight and bulk.
  • It contributes to litter and takes tax dollars to clean up or to send to the landfill.
  • There are paper, recyclable plastic and aluminum alternative containers to Styrofoam which cost only a few cents more.
  • Freeport banned Styrofoam 25 years ago. Portland and South Portland have recently passed bans. Portland reports no problems with the ban.
  • Foods packaged outside of these towns (e.g. meat trays in grocery stores), are exempt as are shipping containers for raw/live seafood
  • Styrofoam for non-food items (e.g. electronics) is not covered by the ordinance

 

Sources:

Conservation Law Foundation blog on bag fee, poly ban, http://www.clf.org/blog/maine/plastic-bag-ban-portland/

Clean Water Action CA Fact Sheet

Natural Resources Council of Maine (http://www.nrcm.org )

Centers for Disease Control-Toxicity of Styrene, http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts53.pdf

Clean Water Action, http://www.cleanwateraction.org/files/publications/PS%20bans%20as%20of%20July%20%202012.pdf

Earth Resource Foundation.  http://www.earthresource.org/campaigns/capp/capp-styrofoam.html

New York Times 12/14/2013 –“ Scientists Turn Their Gaze Toward Tiny Threats to Great Lakes”

EcoMaine, “The Styrofoam Packing Peanut: Who To Blame?” 4/24/14 http://www.ecomaine.org/tag/styrofoam/

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