Carryout and coffee will now come in something more eco-friendly than Styrofoam in Maine.The first statewide ban on polystyrene, commonly called Styrofoam, just became law. The non-recyclable, single-use plastic has been the popular choice for takeout food containers and coffee cups because it’s cheap, sturdy (doesn’t leak) and insulating.
The only problem is it never goes away. Like other plastics, scientists estimate it will take between 500 and a million years to break down into tiny pieces, while never fully biodegrading. Unlike other hard, single-use plastics, polystyrene can’t be recycled. And, the resulting micro-plastics are piling up in our oceans and soil. So now restaurants and coffee shops will have to purchase more eco-friendly options or face fines.
Maine became the first state to ban the foam products, including boxes and cups, on April 30. 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 now passing similar laws.