Maine is the first state to pass legislation banning Styrofoam containers. It will begin enforcing the Styrofoam ban on January 1st, 2021. In particular, this will affect restaurants and coffee shops around the state.
Both California and New York have passed legislation that prohibits plastic bags. These are efforts to help fight back against plastic pollution in the ocean. However, Styrofoam is much more dangerous.
Styrofoam Is A Plastic
While many do not realize it, Styrofoam is a plastic. It is made up of Polystyrene, a type of plastic. Unlike other plastics, Styrofoam is made of a foam, which is why it is much softer.
Unfortunately, many believe that Styrofoam breaks down quickly, unlike harder plastics. This is completely wrong. Styrofoam takes decades to completely break down, and the particles it leaves behind are a health hazard for wildlife that ingests them.
And unfortunately, Styrofoam’s softness makes it easy for fish to eat. Thus, it spreads throughout the entire food chain until it reaches the top…humans.
Styrofoam Is Not Commonly Recycled
Recycling plants cannot keep up with the number of recyclables they receive. Even though Styrofoam can be recycled, most plants will not accept it for multiple reasons.
The most common use for Styrofoam is for food and drinks, and that makes recycling a challenge. Many of the containers are stained so badly that they cannot be cleaned. The ones that can be cleaned are not.
If food were to enter the plant’s machinery, nothing would get recycled. This is why Styrofoam is not accepted in most cases. Unfortunately, plants send it to landfills where it does not break down at all.
How Much Is The Fine
Of course, the big question is how will the state of Maine enforce the ban. Anyone caught with a Styrofoam container will suffer a $100 fine. While this might sound like a lot, when you consider that Styrofoam containers are in the top 10 most common items littered in the US, it is appropriate.
This fine should make it easy for the state to enforce the Styrofoam ban.