June 20, 2012

Portland a step closer to banning plastic foam

But some businesses such as coffee shops and takeout restaurants say a ban would be potentially costly and unpopular with customers.

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Today's poll: Plastic foam

Should the city of Portland ban plastic foam?

Yes

No

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Dunkin' Donuts would be greatly affected by a ban on plastic foam.

The city should think beyond plastic foam and tackle other single-use items, like plastic bags and utensils, said Seth Valliett, a resident who believes that a scientific case should be made for any decision to ban an item.

His friend Shamus Alley of Peaks Island said he would pay more to avoid using plastic foam.

"If I'm eating out, an extra 75 cents or a dollar isn't going to stop me from going to a restaurant," he said.

Foam plates and cups aren't big sellers at Paul's Food Mart, said owner Paul Trusiani, so he wouldn't oppose the ordinance. He said that reducing the environmental impact of foam could outweigh any new burdens on businesses.

"We'd just stop selling them," Trusiani said of foam plates and cups. "They're not a big seller. People are already voting with their feet, so to speak."

Restaurant owners who rely on plastic foam for their takeout orders have a different view.

Yan Lam, who owns the Oriental Table on Exchange Street, said a ban on foam trays would slow him down during the lunch rush, create longer lines and increase costs – which he couldn't shift to his customers.

"If we have to use individual containers it (would) take forever," Lam said. "We cannot raise the price. We have to eat it."

Staff Writer Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at: rbillings@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @randybillings

 

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Today's poll: Plastic foam

Should the city of Portland ban plastic foam?

Yes

No

View Results