Brunswick residents are reminded that a town-instituted ban on single use polystyrene packaging — like those used for fast food containers — takes effect this coming Saturday.

The measure, approved following a public hearing in March, bans serving prepared foods and beverages in polystyrene containers. It does not, however, ban containers with unprepared foods, such as raw meat and eggs, that were packaged elsewhere.

Part of the measure includes the ability of retailers to request through the town manager a temporary exemption due to personal hardship.

Notices were sent out to area schools and nonprofits in August as well as through the Brunswick Downtown Association and the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber.

Speaking as a business owner and Brunswick resident in March, Becky Shepherd of Wild Oats Bakery stepped forward in favor of the ban.

“I just want to make it clear from a business perspective that in no way is this a hardship on businesses. There are a host of alternatives that are available,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd said that many of the alternatives are around the same cost and conceded that while some cost more, the reduction in waste and increase in business from people who appreciate a business’ decision to forgo polystyrene will offset any additional cost.

Marcia Harrington, co-founder of Bring Your Own Bag Midcoast, pointed out preserving the natural beauty and marine resources of the Midcoast is paramount — especially since both are tied to the local economy in tourism and fishing.

Under the new ordinance, retailers who have items shipped to them in polystyrene containers will not have to repackage those items and may sell them in their original containers. The ban also does not include polystyrene used for the sale and packaging of live or raw seafood, such as lobster shipping containers.

Violations would result in a warning for a first violation in a one-year period, a fine not exceeding $250 in a one-year period and a fine not exceeding $500 for each subsequent violation in a one-year period.

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