Maine has become the first state to officially ban styrofoam from businesses after governor Janet Mills signed a bill into law Tuesday. The law will go into effect January 1, 2021 and prohibits restaurants, caterers, coffee shops and grocery stores from using the to-go foam containers because they cannot be recycled in Maine.
While states like New York and California have banned single-use plastic bags, others such as Tennessee and Florida have made it illegal for local municipalities to regulate them. Maryland’s legislature also has approved bills to ban polystyrene, but it’s unclear whether Republican Gov. Larry Hogan will sign the legislation. Democratic Delegate Brooke Lierman, the primary sponsor of the Maryland House bill, said banning foam products was the first step to curbing people’s reliance on single-use plastics.
“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 said in a statement to CNN affiliate 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.”
The Maine law, originally proposed by Rep. Stanley Zeigler (D-Montville), also applies to plastic beverage stirrers. Those who violate the law could face a fine of up to $100, News Center Maine reports.