Legislature advances bill to ban disposable polystyrene containers

Belfast among 14 towns and cities that already have bans in place
Apr 07, 2019
Rep. S. Paige Zeigler, D-Montville

Augusta — The Maine House of Representatives voted 87 to 51 Thursday in favor of a measure to ban the use of disposable food service containers made of polystyrene.

“I’m glad that a majority of my colleagues in the House agree that polystyrene is an issue worth addressing,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Stanley Paige Zeigler Jr., D-Montville. “When polystyrene enters the water system, it breaks down into very small pieces which then become part of the aquatic food chain. There’s scientific proof that these micro-plastics affect the reproductive rate of fish and stunt the growth of shellfish, which is a real threat to a vital part of Maine’s economy.”

Zeigler’s bill would prohibit the sale or distribution of disposable food service containers made of polystyrene in Maine beginning January 1, 2020. There are 14 Maine towns and cities — Belfast among them — that have banned polystyrene disposable food containers at the local level, and two additional towns will see their polystyrene ban take effect at the end of this month.

“Polystyrene cannot be economically recycled or reused, and it is known to be cancer-inducing and damaging to the nervous system when heated,” Zeigler said. “This bill is as much about the health of our environment as it is the health of our neighbors.”

The measure faces further action in both the House and Senate.

Serving his second term in the Maine House, Zeigler is a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. He represents Belmont, Liberty, Lincolnville, Montville, Morrill, Palermo and Searsmont.

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