Friday, December 13, 2013
I am an employee of a Portland-based company that distributes expanded polystyrene shipping containers to local seafood companies.
Maryellen O’Toole of Scarborough carries a cup of coffee from a Portland Dunkin’ Donuts. A reader wonders if the city of Portland’s proposed ban on Styrofoam packaging would apply to things like the cups, which are made not of Styrofoam but of a different material – expanded polystyrene,
2013 File Photo/Gabe Souza
I write this letter in the hope that it may help the Portland City Council understand some important questions and concerns of some who work and/or live in Portland regarding the proposed citywide Styrofoam ban ("Portland moves toward ban on Styrofoam packaging," May 7).
I have heard it said that the proposed ban will not have an effect on the seafood companies in Portland that rely on expanded polystyrene, as it is a Food and Drug Administration-approved means of shipping for their perishable items.
But I have to ask the question: What's the difference between expanded polystyrene shipping containers and an expanded polystyrene Dunkin' Donuts cup?
How can we rest easy that we won't be directly affected now or at a later date?
Will the exemption for shipping containers be written into the citywide ban?
Additionally, I am hopeful that the Green Packaging Working Group has reviewed the following facts about expanded polystyrene before they make any quick decisions.
• Expanded polystyrene creates 20 percent less greenhouse gas emissions during its life span than fiberboard, paperboard or cardboard.
• Expanded polystyrene does not leach any toxic chemicals into the ground, nor does it release methane gas into the ozone.
• Expanded polystyrene foam is 100 percent recyclable. (For more information about expanded polystyrene, visit www.epspackaging.org.)
I hope the City Council does its part to clear up the misconceptions about expanded polystyrene and about how it defines "Styrofoam" as it moves forward. Additionally, I hope the council can offer more information than it has to its constituents to help ease their fears.
While we all agree that we want our children to have a safe and healthy world to live in, my hopes are that we can achieve that in an honest and truthful way that doesn't harm those people already struggling in a tough economy.
1943 graduate of MMA: Press missed a good story
My wife and I had the pleasure and privilege of attending a college graduation May 4 at one of Maine's most unique schools, Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, on the Bagaduce River off Penobscot Bay.
This was the 70th commencement exercise for the academy, which graduated its first class in 1943, following entry of the United States into World War II.
There were two members of this first class on hand who MMA President Dr. William Brennan called upon to stand and be applauded by the class of 2013: Capt. Dick Spear, former head of the Maine Ferry Service, and myself.
This highly specialized institution trains young men and women as officers for duty in the maritime world as well as in both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Additionally, approximately one-half of the members of the student body are nonregimental in nature, pursuing specialized academic subjects of their choice. All students graduate with accredited degrees.
The graduation itself was extremely interesting, again bringing out the uniqueness of the regimental and nonregimental blend of the student body. Half of the students were in military uniforms, while the other half were in academic regalia. There was the official swearing-in of the new Navy/Coast Guard officers, as well as the announcements of all the special academic degrees and awards.
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