Portland, Maine School District Bans Styrofoam Trays

Shaire Productions/CC BY 2.0

Three loud cheers for the Portland, Maine school district. Hip, hip...

After saving $50,000 by reducing waste through recycling programs, Portland schools superintendent James Morse has announced that area schools will no longer be using single use styrofoam trays in district cafeterias, and will be transitioning to reusable trays instead. (More at Bangor Daily News.)

Currently Portland schools use 450,000 styrofoam trays each year, all of which are simply trashed.

I hope I need not have to remind regular TreeHugger readers that styrofoam is forever, essentially. It doesn't biodegrade, only breaks down into smaller and smaller bits. It's a vile substance that frankly has no place anywhere that calls itself civilized, even partly aware of the impact of that place's effect on polluting the environment and sustainable use of resources.

To paraphrase Woody Allen, if one of the layers of hell is reserved for the person who invented aluminum siding, then the inventor of styrofoam must occupy several layers of hell all by himself.

Starting in September 2012, the styrofoam trays are out, replaced by paperboard trays (made in Maine), to be then replaced by reusable trays at an unspecified future date.

The move paves the way for a city-wide ban on styrofoam, something which the school district's continued use of the disposable foam trays was holding up.

Again, three cheers for Portland. May every other city in the country, every locale on this planet ban styrofoam. May its use and manufacture be as repugnant to people as... well, the single most repugnant thing you personally can think of.

Tags: Plastics | Reusability