Maine Becomes First State To Ban Styrofoam Food Containers In 2021

Photo by  Oliur  on  Unsplash

Photo by Oliur on Unsplash

New York City’s ban on single-use foam products went into effect January 1, 2019. Banned products include single-service items, including: cups, bowls, plates, takeout containers, trays, packing peanuts, coolers.

The restriction on the sale, possession or use of banned foam products is only for businesses, agencies, institutions, and non-profits outlined in the law. The New York City restriction is not intended for residents.

Several other cities in New York state have joined New York City. Around America, Seattle, WA, Washington DC, Miami Beach, FL, Portland, OR and several other Oregon cities, Minneapolis, MN, Nantucket (city & county), MA, Los Angeles & San Francisco, CA; and in Maine Portland and Freeport.

The Story of Stuff keeps us abreast of the latest developments.

Maine Bans Styrofoam

Maine is now the first state to ban Styrofoam food containers. The bill, signed into law on Tuesday, with an effective date of January 2021 prohibits convenience stores, restaurants, grocery stores, farm stands, and coffee shops from using containers made of polystyrene, which is more commonly referred to as Styrofoam.

“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,” Maine Gov. Janet Mills told CNN affiliate WMTW 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.”

Foam food containers made of polystyrene are among the 10 most commonly littered items in the US, and more than 256 million pieces of disposable Styrofoam products are used every year in Maine , according to the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

VOX digs deeper into the ban, exploring the complexities of banning the very lightweight Styrofoam. “Trevor Zink, an assistant professor of management at the Institute of Business Ethics and Sustainability at Loyola Marymount University, told Martinelli that polystyrene is so light, it has “lower production and transportation impacts than other products.”

Translated, both transportation costs — and carbon emissions — increase with heavier weight shipping materials.

Trump Revokes National Ocean Policy As Britain Launches Audit Of Fast Fashion Impact Environment

Image via Greenpeace

Image via Greenpeace

Donald Trump cares little about the environment, and that was never more clear than when issued an executive order Tuesday revoking the 2010 National Ocean Policy of the Trump administration. Economic development is Trump's top priority, and if he puts the entire global ecosystem in peril, he could care less. That includes local quality of life as well. His mentality is drill baby drill. As for massive guts of plastic floating in the oceans and killing our fish, basta! Trump insists that it is RIGHT to pollute, to desecrate, to kill the earth in the name of consumption and economic development.

The Obama administration’s goal was to guide a more coordinated, sustainable management of the oceans and coasts in collaboration with states and tribes. Republican opponents call such a plan the liberal bureaucracy in action.  On Tuesday, conservation groups voiced strong opposition to Trump’s action, which, among other things, ensures “federal regulations and management decisions do not prevent productive and sustainable use of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters,” according to the executive order.

The difference between Trump's attitude on consumption and sustainability could not contrast more with Britain's. While Trump practically demands that we pour more chemicals and plastic into the ocean, Britain's House of Commons has launched an environmental audit to assess the impact of fast fashion in the UK.

“Fashion shouldn’t cost the earth” said Mary Creagh MP, chair of the committee, today. “But the way we design, make and discard clothes has a huge environmental impact. Producing clothes requires climate-changing emissions. Every time we put on a wash, thousands of plastic fibres wash down the drain into the oceans. We don’t know where or how to recycle end-of-life clothing.”

Consensus is united that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry after oil, with 87 percent of fashion landfilled or incinerated every year, according to data from the Copenhagen Fashion Summit

Key to the inquiry is getting consumers to embrace the necessity of an "end to end" fashion system or a "circular economy" , writes Vogue UK.  Not only are garments kept in use for a longer time, but they are then made into new products at the end of their fashion clothing life span. 

Stella McCartney opens the new shop with Kylie Minogue and Kate Moss ( Rex Features ) via The Independent

Stella McCartney opens the new shop with Kylie Minogue and Kate Moss ( Rex Features ) via The Independent

Sustainability pioneer Stella McCartney constantly reminds us of the "appalling" fact that only one percent of fashion on our planet is recycled. “It’s not a great place where we are at,” she said in May this year. “Honestly, it takes up more time in my company than creating product… [we’re] just being decent human beings and having a decent label practice, [but] it’s a big problem because there are very few people that are doing that.”

A designer who walks her talk, Stella McCartney opened a brand new shop at London's 23 Old Bond Street last week. McCartney proudly asserts that her new shop (all four floors) is the most sustainable store in London. It's highly probable that the store also has the cleanest air, despite London's notorious air pollution. 

The design of the shop has incorporated materials that are handmade, organic and ethically sourced, eschewing the more luxurious materials that were more frequently used in the past, writes The Independent.