City to weigh total ban on polystyrene takeout packaging

Plastic bag ban returns, with Styrofoam, Aug. 1
By Ethan Andrews | Jul 31, 2017
Photo illustration by: Ethan Andrews

Belfast — City Councilors, during deliberations earlier this year over the proposed ban of single-use plastic bags, routinely interrupted their fellow councilors to point out the polystyrene cups on their desks.

This was partly collegial sparring — how could someone claim to care about the planet while drinking out of a Styrofoam cup? But it also shed light on the environmental baby step represented by even the strongest bag ban.

The plastic bag ordinance was tabled in March for being too weak. On Aug. 1 it returns for discussion along with a proposed total ban on polystyrene containers at takeout food and drink establishments.

View the full text of both ordinances at the link below.

The plastic bag ban was spearheaded by a local group concerned about the environmental harm caused by single-use plastic bags, particularly to marine animals that consume particles of the degraded plastic. The group made recommendations to the council based, in part, on ordinances passed in other Maine communities.

There is some debate over whether banning single-use plastic bags leads to less pollution or more.

The polystyrene ban grew out of council concerns that the plastic bag ban didn't go far enough. Councilor Mike Hurley later brought attention to disposable containers when he called out a handful of businesses for contributing to roadside trash.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m., Aug. 1, in the council chambers at City Hall, 131 Church St. View the full agenda and supporting documents at the link below.

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