After much deliberation in the Maine House and Senate, a state-wide ban on polystyrene foam was vetoed by Governor LePage. The vetoed bill would have banned the distribution or sale of disposable polystyrene foodservice containers such as coffee cups, clamshell takeout boxes, and lunch trays.
The Maine Restaurant Association was adamant in opposing the ban because polystyrene foam is the most effective option for restaurant and small business owners. It keeps hot food hot and cold food cold better than any other material.
Polystyrene foam—not to be confused with Styrofoam, a registered trademark of Dow Chemical Company—is also valued over alternatives because of its price. It is much more cost-effective for restaurants, that already operate on razor-thin profit margins, to use polystyrene containers for their takeout containers. Costlier alternatives would lead to restaurants either having to increase prices for consumers or taking on the cost themselves.
Foam is recyclable
Those for the ban argued that foam is a carcinogenic that isn’t recyclable. But both of these statements are simply untrue. Foam products are not carcinogenic.
Furthermore, foam products are regularly recycled in communities around the country. Recycled polystyrene foam is used to make items like picture frames, rulers, garden nursery trays, and ballpoint pens.
Why ban a recyclable product preferred by consumers, restaurants and small businesses?