The first statewide ban on polystyrene, commonly called Styrofoam became law in Maine.
Maine is the first state to ban the Styrofoam ( a Dow Chemical trademark) products. The ban goes into effect January 1, 2021.
New York City’s ban went into effect earlier this year,and hundreds of other cities and towns across the nation are following. A partial list includes:
- Takoma Park, MD
- Seattle, Washington
- Washington DC
- Miami Beach, FL
- Nantucket (City & County), Massachusetts
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Portland, Oregon (and several other Oregon cities)
- Los Angeles County and San Francisco, California (and many other cities and counties in CA)
Companies Responsibly Ditching Styrofoam:
- Duncan Donuts
- Smoothie King
Styrofoam is commonly used in disposable products that are only used once. Scientists estimate it will take between 500 and a million years to break down into tiny pieces. The only problem is it cannot be recycled and it never goes away. It is slow to break down and fragments into small pieces, choking animals that ingest it, clogging their digestive systems. Styrofoam and other plastics currently make up about 30 percent of the landfill volume in the United States. The micro-plastic particles are piling up in our oceans and soil.
Beth Terry, author of Plastic-Free , wrote this guide explaining how producing and using plastic pollutes the air. When it comes to the foamy EPS in particular, here are some other objections to using it:
- It does not biodegrade. It may break into small pieces, even minuscule pieces. But the smaller EPS gets, the harder it is to clean up.
- It is made of fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals. Those chemicals may leach if they come in contact with hot, greasy or acidic food. Yes, they keep your coffee hot – but they may also add an unwanted dose of toxins to your drink.
- Animals sometimes eat it. Turtles and fish seem to mistake EPS for food, and that can kill them. Not only can they not digest it, but the foam could be full of poisons that it has absorbed from contaminants floating in the water.
- It can’t be recycled. Some commercial mailing houses may accept packing peanuts, but for the most part community recycling centers do not accept throwaway foam food containers.