BANGOR – In case you haven’t noticed already, your to-go containers are going to look a little different in Bangor.
Starting January 1st of 2020, food and drink containers made of polystyrene, better known as Styrofoam, will no longer be allowed.
“In the grand scheme of things it might seem like a small thing, but every little bit helps,” Bangor City Councilor Laura Supica said on Sunday. “It just takes forever to break down. It gets into our water systems.”
Bangor city councilors voted to ban Styrofoam containers back in May for environmental reasons.
Around the same time, the state legislature passed its own ban, though the state ban kicks in a year after Bangor’s.
“It’s something we’re all kind of moving towards as it is, and I think that Bangor doing this a year early is kind of helping to usher that in a little bit faster,” said Supica.
For some area businesses, it has been an adjustment.
Managers at Seasons on Main Street said they got rid of their Styrofoam containers three months ago to comply with the new rule.
“We actually went to cardboard boxes which I’ve had some difficulties, but we’re getting adjusted to them, trying to find the perfect one,” said Michael Lopez, a bar manager and dining room manager.
At Seasons, staff said the new containers cost about two to three cents more but hold up for transporting soups and other messier meals.
At a newer Bangor business,Tea & Tarts staff said they started using plant-based, biodegradable containers when they first opened in May. They said they’ve found the more environmentally friendly options cost about the same, if not a little less, compared to the polystyrene ones.
“We started off green because everybody that works here and the owners come from a background of taking care of the environment,” said Kenneth Scott, a manager.
Tea & Tarts went a little farther. They also provide biodegradable silverware for takeout and cloth napkins for those eating at the cafe, something staff said customers like.
“They do actually, they find it to be almost kind of kitschy,” said Scott.
Those who had to make the switch at Seasons said the city gave them enough time to find an alternative.
Businesses who violate the ban will face a fine of up to $200 for the first offense.