By Blake Alsup
It's the Maine event.
Maine became the first state in the country to ban Styrofoam, also known as polystyrene, when Gov. Janet Mills signed a new bill into law on Tuesday.
It takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and will ban businesses including convenience stores, restaurants and grocery stores from selling or distributing Styrofoam products.
Although polystyrene is recyclable, there is no place in Maine to recycle it, according to the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
"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. "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."
Plastic foam food containers are among the top 10 most commonly littered items in America and more than 256 million pieces of disposable foam cups, plates, bowls and trays are used in Maine each year, the council said.
Trashed foam in the state often contaminates recycling loads which costs towns money, so the state will switch to comparable eco-friendly alternatives when the new law takes effect.
"With the threats posed by plastic pollution becoming more apparent, costly, and even deadly to wildlife, we need to be doing everything possible to limit our use and better manage our single-use plastics -- starting with eliminating the use of unnecessary forms like plastic foam," NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Lakeman said in a statement.
Maine is one of several states that has banned single-use products that create waste and pollution.
New York State lawmakers have agreed to impose a statewide ban on most single-use plastic bags and, last month, California proposed a bill to ban hotels from providing customers with single-use plastic shampoo and soap bottles in an effort to curb plastic waste.
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