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Tom Flanagin
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WASHINGTON (May 1, 2019) – Today, the American Chemistry Council issued the following statement on the news that Governor Janet Mills (D-Maine) signed into law legislation to ban polystyrene packaging products (this statement is attributable to Omar Terrie, director, Plastics Foodservice Packaging Group, Plastics Division):

“ACC is committed to ending plastic waste in the environment. In fact, many of our members helped found the  Alliance to End Plastic Waste, which aims to invest over $1.5 billion to deliver waste management solutions where they are most needed. Experts say up to 60 percent of plastic waste comes from just five countries. Although the US accounts for less than 1 percent of trash in the ocean, we are committed to working with communities so that 100 percent of plastic packaging is reused, recycled or recovered.

“We support efforts made by states and businesses to reduce the amount of waste that can litter our nation’s beaches, streets, and water ways. Unfortunately, Maine’s recently-passed legislation banning the use of polystyrene foam foodservice packaging will do little to actually help keep the state clean. 

“Polystyrene foam packaging is a safe, recyclable, durable, and cost-effective product for use in foodservice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration for decades has determined that polystyrene is safe for use in contact with food. A ban on polystyrene foodservice packaging could lead to increased solid waste, energy use, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, this ban could have negative economic impacts for local business owners, as a study on similar legislation in New York City showed that for every $1.00 spent on polystyrene foodservice packaging, restaurants would have to spend nearly $2.00 on alternatives. Studies also have shown that littering of alternatives increases after a ban on polystyrene foam.

“It is our sincere hope that Governor Mills and the Maine Legislature will reconsider this legislation next year after they see how it will negatively impact the environment and local businesses and consumers.”

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