Several states are just steps away from banning foam containers

Media Contacts
Alex Truelove

Ross Sherman

Maryland, Maine, Colorado, Oregon, New Jersey among those vying to pass first-in-the-nation policy

U.S. PIRG and Environment America

DENVER — Environment America and U.S. PIRG are working in states across the country to pass bans on foam containers, which is among the most harmful forms of single-use plastic. Banning polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, is one of several policies the organizations’ Wildlife Over Waste and Beyond Plastic campaigns are pushing to tackle the plastic pollution crisis.

Coming out of Earth Day, five states where our affiliates have been key players are on the verge of becoming the first to pass a statewide foam ban. The following is an overview of those states as well as Environment America and U.S. PIRG staff working on the ground who are available for interviews and reactions as these bills make their way through the process:

Earlier this month, a foam ban passed in Maryland’s State House and Senate, and, on Earth Day, Environment Maryland and Maryland PIRG held an event at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore to urge Gov. Larry Hogan to sign the bill. The governor has less than a month to decide if he will sign or veto the bill, or let it go into law without his signature.
Emily Scarr, Maryland PIRG director, (859) 221-4213, [email protected]

After passing the State House, Maine’s foam ban faces one final vote in the Senate before it would go to Gov. Janet Mills’ desk. Environment Maine staff spoke with more than 19,000 Mainers face-to-face last summer to generate public support for banning polystyrene cups and containers, and collected 7,800 petition signatures.
Carissa Maurin, Environment Maine director, (516) 376-5023, [email protected]

Colorado’s polystyrene bill, written and introduced by CoPIRG, passed through a key Senate committee on Monday night. SB19-243 must now pass a full Senate vote, a House committee and the full House before Colorado’s legislative session ends on May 3.
Danny Katz, CoPIRG director, (303) 573-7474 ext. 303, [email protected]

Yesterday, the Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban restaurants, grocery stores, food carts and other food vendors from selling prepared food in polystyrene containers. The bill now heads to the state Senate for approval.
Charlie Fisher, OSPIRG director, (971) 266-2511, [email protected]

In September, the New Jersey Senate Environment committee passed a bill that would ban foam containers statewide, in addition to single-use plastic bags and straws. A companion bill awaits a hearing with the State Assembly. This summer, Environment New Jersey will continue to generate public support by having hundreds of face-to-face conversations and collecting hundreds of petitions.
Doug O’Malley, Environment New Jersey director, (917) 449-6812, [email protected]


Environment America is a national network with affiliates in 29 states. Our staff and members work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. Environment America is part of The Public Interest Network, which runs organizations committed to our vision of a better world, a set of core values, and a strategic approach to getting things done.

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.