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Portland, Maine Considers Polystyrene Ban

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City Council Committee to Consider Ordinance | Plastic Bag Ban Report
Portland, Maine, June 25, 2012 (PBBR) – Maine’s largest metropolitan area, the city of Portland, is considering a ban on polystyrene containers.

The City Council voted unanimously at its regular meeting on June 18 to direct the Committee on Transportation, Sustainability and Energy to consider an ordinance or recommendation banning the sale of non-recyclable Polystyrene Foam (PSF) Containers.

Councilor Edward J. Suslovic sponsored the motion. According to Suslovic, the idea came out of the announcement by City School Superintendent that the composting program in the school had been so successful in trash reduction that the school system was able to reduce the trash pick-up contract thereby saving money for the school system. In one school, trash had gone down from 14 bags of trash at lunch to two bags of trash.

Suslovic stated, “As of September 1st, there will be no more polystyrene products used in the Portland public schools, including trays, cups, etc. We’ve been working on this for over three years, and now that the Portland public schools has seen fit to eliminate polystyrene, I am bringing forth this order.”

Public comment was taken and three citizens spoke with two in favor and one opposed. Robert Haynes agreed with the ban but felt that it should be done at the state level to prevent citizens going to other nearby towns to shop so they could purchase polystyrene wares. Chris O’Neal of the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce agreed with Robert Haynes.

The order passed unanimously by the City Council. The Committee will draft an ordinance which will still have to be approved by the City Council. No time frame was imposed on the committee for reporting back to the Council.

Polystyrene Hazards

Polystyrene foam (PSF) has a number of known detrimental effects on the environment, including a reduction in the ozone layer from the emission of chlorofluorocarbons. These negative effects have led to a number of municipalities around the country banning the sale of food or beverage containers made out of PSF.

To learn more about polystyrene, see the Polystyrene Foam Report from Earth Resource Foundation.

Copyright © 2012 Plastic Bag Ban Report. All Rights Reserved.

Cover photo: East End neighborhood of Portland, Maine, United States. Photo by William J. Grimes at the English Wikipedia project.