Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law Tuesday that made Maine one of the first states to ban single-use food and drink containers made from polystyrene.

The law prohibits restaurants, coffee shops, food trucks, grocery stores and other “covered establishments” from using containers made of polystyrene – known by the trade name Styrofoam – as of Jan. 1, 2021.

Hospitals, seafood shippers and stores that sell pre-packaged meat are exempt from the ban.

“Maine has proven itself an environmental leader once again, this time in eliminating disposable foam containers that have become a common, costly, and deadly form of plastic pollution,” said Sarah Lakeman, sustainable Maine director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Plastic foam food containers are among the top 10 most commonly littered items in the U.S. and more than 256 million pieces of disposable foam cups, plates, bowls, platters and trays are used every year in Maine, the NRCM said.

More than a half-dozen communities in Maine, including Portland and South Portland, already have local ordinances banning foam food and beverage containers.

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