U.S. Senator joins charge against single-use plastic foam

U.S. Senator joins charge against single-use plastic foam

Sustainability

U.S. Senator Angus King has introduced the Farewell to Foam Act, a bicameral initiative targeting the phase-out of single-use plastic foam food service products. The legislation encompasses materials such as packing peanuts, non-medical disposable coolers, and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS).

EPS, commonly known as plastic foam, poses adverse health effects and environmental pollution, containing additives linked to central nervous system damage and an increased cancer risk. These materials are challenging to recycle and contribute to microplastic pollution in waterways.

The Farewell to Foam Act prohibits the sale and distribution of these items starting January 2026, encouraging the adoption of alternative materials. The legislation builds on Maine's progress and mandates the transition to alternative materials by January 1, 2026.

Additionally, the bill authorises the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose escalating penalties on violators, starting at $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second, and $1,000 for subsequent violations. Exemptions are provided for EPS materials used for medical, industrial, or safety purposes.

Packing peanuts credit ian munroe
Packing peanuts © ian munroe (CC BY 2.0)

Senator King's legislation addresses the health and environmental impacts of single-use plastic foam, fostering a responsible shift towards sustainable alternatives.

Senator King said: As anyone who’s been on riverbanks or the coast can tell you, pollution in our waters is on the rise – threatening public health, economic security, and the future of our planet. The Farewell to Foam Act would phase out harmful foam food containers and single-use foam storage bins to protect our families and friends from ingesting these dangerous microplastics that have negative impacts on human health. We need bold action to tackle this global crisis, and this bill is a common-sense step we can take to reduce our dependence on this particularly harmful form of plastic.

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