Those of us lucky enough to live within driving distance of the great state of Maine are familiar with this sign that welcomes us as we cross the boarder. This week Maine added one more reason for us to believe the slogan is true: As of January 1, 2021 restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, and all other food service businesses will no longer be allowed to use Styrofoam to-go containers or plastic beverage stirrers.
Polystyrene (Styrofoam is the brand name) cannot be recycled, 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 and hurting our wildlife. Foam also absorbs toxins faster than other plastics and is mistaken for food by marine life. And the toxins that wildlife consumes makes its way up the food chain into people.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine estimates more than 256 million pieces of disposable foam cups, plates, bowls, platters, and trays are used every year - just in Maine alone. Considering Maine is only the 42nd most populated state...just imagine what that number looks like nation-wide.
Maryland's legislature also has approved bills to ban polystyrene, but it's unclear whether Republican Gov. Larry Hogan will sign the legislation. Let's hope he does and we can keep the momentum rolling into other states. Want to see something similar happening in your state? Contact your local state representative. All of these bills start with a single rep proposing them, so find out if yours feels as strongly about this as you do. And if they don't - vote for someone who does next time you have the chance. These things don't happen overnight but they do happen eventually when enough people care.
Excerpts from this article were taken from the following article posted on CNN.com 5/1/19