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Maine House Advances Measure To Ban Single-use Polystyrene Containers

Mark Lennihan
AP Photo
A girl has a doughnut and a beverage, served in a foam cup, at a Dunkin' Donuts in New York Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013.

Maine moved closer to becoming one of the first states to ban single-use polystyrene containers.

Credit Maine House Democratic Office
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Stanley Paige Zeigler, Jr., D-Montville

The Democratic-controlled House voted 87-51 Thursday to advance a statewide ban on the plastic foam containers most commonly used by eating establishments.

Supporters like Democratic Rep. Stanley Zeigler, of Montville, said during the floor debate that the products are harmful to the environment and should be replaced by different products, such as hemp or a wood-derivative.

"In this case the information is already conclusive that polystyrene needs to be replaced. Polystyrene cannot be economically recycled or reused," Zeigler said.

Republican Rep. Richard Campbell, of Orrington, opposed the ban, citing its wide use among small retailers and eating establishments.

He says the issue of single-use plastics should be studied comprehensively rather than advancing a polystyrene ban.

"We've got a plastic problem, but rather than banning them, why don't we talk about how to reuse them? Talk about how to recycle them?" he said.

Over a dozen cities and towns statewide have passed local bans on the polystyrene, a trend mirrored in other states.

Maryland, Hawaii and Maine are among the states currently considering statewide prohibitions.

The Senate will vote on the measure next.

Originally published 2:55 p.m. April 5, 2019.