Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: Thank you Senator Black for voting yes on polystyrene ban

Last Thursday, the Maine Senate passed a bill that would ban polystyrene, or Styrofoam, cups and food containers by 2020. The bill now goes to Gov. Janet Mills’ desk for her signature. Thank you Senator Russell Black for understanding that solving the plastic pollution problem is not a partisan issue and voting yes on the polystyrene ban.

In 2019, we can and must move beyond plastics. Polystyrene foam is one of the worst forms of plastic pollution because it never fully degrades and is not recyclable in Maine. With plastic flowing through every river, collecting in our oceans and forming “islands” twice the size of Texas, and ending up in the guts of nearly every organism in the ocean. We should all be able to agree that nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our oceans and rivers and threaten wildlife for centuries.

Senator Black ensured that Maine will put wildlife over waste, and do our part to address our plastic pollution crisis. We simply can’t continue to produce and throw away plastic at this rate. As coastal state, Maine can and should lead the way. Now, it’s time for Gov. Mills to sign the ban on polystyrene cups and food containers.

Carissa Maurin M.S.
State Director
Environment Maine

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29 Responses »

  1. I couldn't agree more Carissa, now it's time to tackle plastic bags and single use plastic containers in favor of paper and other degradable products.

  2. And that will solve what exactly? Polystyrene is literally everywhere, from meat trays to furniture. Some say it takes 500 years if ever for it to break down, can somebody please show me a 499 year old Dunkin's cup? How about a place that was built after 1990 that isn't insulated with it? Had a party that didn't use Solo cups and plasticware? Legos are made with a styrene plastic, ban one styrene item you must ban ALL styrene items. It's called the 14th amendment and its equal protection clause.

  3. HB is the first ever to suggest that plastic containers have rights under the 14th Amendment. Why hasn't Trump picked HB for the Supreme Court?

  4. Wayne, If styrofoam containers have no "rights", than how can laws be made against them, mmm?

    It pertains to the manufacturers of styrofoam. Eventually ALL styrene products end up in landfills or the environment. Polystyrene foam is used in lifesavers, lifevests, and boats. Boats sink and overturn every year, this puts polystyrene foam into the environment. People use polystyrene foam to seal spaces around windows and doors, and polystyrene foam board insulation, building gets torn down, the insulation ends up in a landfill. Have a cookout, there is a good chance you'll use plastic cups and plasticware, and throw them in the trash, there is some more polystyrene for the landfill, buy a new cooler, throw out the old one, again more polystyrene for the landfill, the meat trays that the steak, chicken, chops and hamburger comes on, there is some more polystyrene for the landfill. Egg cartons, there is some more polystyrene for the landfill. So if the law only pertains to the makers of takeout food containers like DART for example, is discrimination, therefore in order to be equal under the 14th amendment, the law has to apply to ALL manufacturers of polystyrene products. Understand now?

  5. @Hrtlss Bstrd: one positive step at a time. Do you have a problem with that?
    @Wayne: BRAVO!!!

  6. If this is challenged in court Pvt Planet can always file a "friend of the Court" amicus brief

    …………….get it Wayne?

  7. I would like to know more about the islands of plastic twice the size of Texas.....
    And now the tree huggers will likely wake up after decades of hibernation to protest the slaying of innocent trees used to make the ‘environmentally friendly’ replacement containers. Sigh....
    BTW, HB makes a good point. Where do you draw the line and remain fair?

  8. No, the 14th amendment doesn't apply in this case. Law makers can pick and choose, they don't have to ban all if they ban one. You can discriminate based on products, that is not an equal protection issue. Indeed, most regulations involve that type of discrimination.

  9. Captain Planet, check out the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” undoubtedly, this is what Carissa was referring to. There are many interesting and heartbreaking Videos and Podcasts “floating around out there”

  10. Very important, thank you Russ!

  11. It's there,Capt.and co. but I wouldn't worry. If the current is right it will wash it over the edge of the earth. No problem. Sheesh!

  12. So, I just went on vacation to the Bahamas. A lot of plastic trash washed up on the beaches. I saw 1(one) plastic straw but get this! 4(four) toothbrushes. Just sayin" All is fair in love and war....just ban it all. Then where would we be?!

  13. Scott Erb, Actually they can't. It is the 14th amendment, and the freedom it protects. Corporations have the freedom to make whatever they want(think, trying to ban you from making pancakes for breakfast), as they are protected by the 14th amendment, it is called corporate personhood. Restaurant owners have the freedom to put their food in whatever they want. People have the freedom not to use it. Which is why when California did its straw ban, it didn't actually ban straws because it can't ban straws. It just told restaurants they couldn't force a straw on people, that they had a right to not have a straw if they didn't want one, but plastic straws are still very much legal in California. Maine could pass similar legislation in regards to food trays and make restaurants offer paper trays as well as plastic ones, but Maine can't force restaurants to not use plastic trays or cups.

  14. So we’ll punish Maine restaurants and their customers(like using those paper straws do ya?) while all of NYC’s garbage gets dumped in the ocean. If you people are going to wring your hands about everything at least prioritize!

  15. Burn barrel/ wood stove = gone.

  16. A ban on styrofoam does not affect any styrofoam already produced and in use. So before you take this to SCOTUS, HB, consider that this doesn’t make us eliminate every piece of styrofoam ever produced, used, or thrown away. It just means that we can no longer buy new styrofoam.

    Also, I wonder if you were as upset when lead and asbestos were banned? After all, they were as omnipresent and presented comparable public health hazards.

    And how exactly does this affect restaurants? Killing your customers through packaging doesn’t appear like a much better business model than switching to paper products.

  17. @HB, Planet, and Clayton McKay: Even though you "know" everything, the one thing you can't seem to see is that people who have more than 20 years left to live will have to deal with the decisions that short sighted people like yourselves made while you grumpily and selfishly existed on this planet. Go fire up your coal stove to cook some Walmart "beef" served on polystyrene trays and finish listening to Glenn Beck rally the neo-Nazis. Meanwhile your Republican party has started to part ways with the myopic likes of you.

  18. Hrtlss - your interpretation of the 14th amendment is not the one used by courts. If it were, than most regulations would be illegal. Corporations can be limited by law, just as individuals can. Now, if the state banned McDonalds from using certain containers but allowed other restaurants to continue using them, then McDonalds would have a case.

  19. Settle down Myopic, have a brownie or something. I’m on your side on this one, sort of. It’s just laughable that you moonbats wail about a straw or a styrofoam cup while ignoring the thousands of tons of garbage cities dump daily in the ocean. FYI I’ve gotten some excellent beef from Walmart.

  20. Sabine, SCOTUS already ruled on such things.

    Scott Erb, Other styrofoam products are allowed in Maine, this law targets a specific item, made by specific companies to serve a specific function. If McDonald's chooses not to use styrofoam, that is their choice, they have that freedom. Forcing McDonald's to not use styrofoam by power of law, is in violation of the 14th amendment.

    Myopic, It was the Nazis who used laws to oppress people and force them to give up their rights for "the greater good". Kind of like what modern leftists are now trying to do. The Nazis were after all, Socialists. The democrats are a completely broken party. I don't know where you get your news from, but you need to get out more.

  21. Cmon folks,,, these guys who walk thru life generally annoyed at the rest of us will NOT be told anything....
    If you refer to them as negative,, they say they are just being realistic.
    Walk a mile in their shoes you say,,,,,
    No Thanks.
    But it is their right to have their say...

  22. @ Scott Erb:

    Has it ever occurred to you that your interpretations could be wrong? Tough to walk in your shoes when you never have made a mistake.

  23. HB, when and which case are you referring to?

    And in what universe is the use of packaging comparable to the use of speech? And where does the fourteenth amendment or any other amendment or the constitution itself protect a freedom of choice?

    Btw, you are aware that this kind of legislation is actually aiming to protect corporations from inevitable lawsuits? Or do chemicals in packaging not really kill people and some other entity is responsible?

  24. Sabine, Dartmouth v. Woodward, SCOTUS ruled based on this case that corporations have legal protection from arbitrary state statutes, just like everybody else, ie. the 14th amendment.

    Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Last I checked, there was no federal law banning the manufacture of styrofoam, Since it is not federally banned, it can't be banned on the state level either, because doing so prevents people from using a legally produced item. And since only one type is targeted and not all styrofoam products, the law is not equal, and violates the equal protection from the laws clause. So if a restaurant wants to use styrofoam, the state can't stop them, unless the state stops ALL users of styrofoam within its borders. It is pretty simple stuff really. The only people who hate the constitution are the people who disagree with it.

    BTW, the 14th also protects a woman's right to choose to have an abortion, Maine can't ban those either.(unfortunately)

  25. Roe v. Wade is based on the notion that the due process clause of the 14th amendment implies a right to privacy. It is not about the right to choose, which is not a constitutional right.

    Dartmouth v. Woodward precedes the 14th amendment by 55+ years. So, it also doesn’t support your claim about the 14th amendment granting a right of choice to person and entities enjoying the rights of personhood.

    HB, I’m not asking why you think corporations have rights - the Supreme Court has repeatedly asserted that - but when and where the Supreme Court ruled that there is a “right of choice?”

    Also, according to the snippet that you posted, Maine can ban styrofoam as long as it does so following due process, which in this case means that a) it is not an executive order but a law derived at through constitutionally valid processes, and b) stakeholders had sufficient time to comment on the law and the implementation timeframe is realistic.

  26. Sabine, It is called freedom, you do know what freedom is, right? Freedom of choice. What if the state said you couldn't buy a Chevy because they have the worst emissions. Would you be ok with that, because the state took your right to choose a Chevy. Now here is how a ban on styrofoam is possible. Since there are no preemption laws in regards to the use of styrofoam, the individual towns can ban it, like plastic grocery bags. The state can't force everybody to not use the food containers.

  27. Dang, I was hoping to finish the full-sized lifelike model of my favorite dinosaur, the Styrosaurus Polyrex, by the year 2021.

    Oh well, I suppose I should work on finishing up the model of my second favorite dinosaur, the Plasticbagasaurus, before they ban those, too.

    On another note, why is Maine incapable of recycling materials such as these? Did we suddenly lose the capability of doing so when someone decided to outsource our recycling industry to China? And are we, by the logic of this ban, simply going to start banning things that we don't want to create a recycling program for?

    Cheers,
    Shamus

  28. Wow !...It is great to hear everyone finally learning and talking about the Constitution of the United States and the Articles instead of Impeaching Donald Trump. More of this kind of conversation and perhaps America can really start moving forward with dignity.....'Tango On'

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