Boston – Environment Massachusetts announced the launch of a door-to-door grassroots campaign today calling for a ban on single-use plastic food containers, a major source of ocean pollution.
Polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, is one of the worst and most common types of plastic. According to the EPA, Americans throw out 70 million polystyrene foam cups every day. Much of this waste ends up in rivers, lakes, and oceans, where it can harm wildlife.
“Nothing that we use for a few minutes should pollute our oceans for centuries,” said Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts. “Massachusetts should lead the way in reducing plastic waste.”
Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, but instead breaks down into tiny pieces called microplastics which are ingested by hundreds of different species. A floating patch of plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean is approximately 57 times the size of Massachusetts.
From now through August, canvassers with Environment Massachusetts and affiliated organizations in 22 states will knock on more than 1.2 million doors and talk with nearly 700,000 people about the harmful effects of plastic pollution.
Environment Massachusetts is advocating for a state-wide ban on cups and takeout containers made from polystyrene to help protect our waterways and our wildlife. Seventeen environmental and civic organizations in Massachusetts have signed a letter supporting a ban on polystyrene cups and food containers.
Environment Massachusetts is also supporting legislation (H.4234) to ban single-use plastic bags across Massachusetts. This bill was approved by the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture in February, and is now sitting before the House Ways and Means Committee.
The Wildlife Over Waste campaign will build on a strong local response to the threat of plastic pollution. Already, 79 cities and towns in Massachusetts have approved local policies restricting the use of plastic bags, and 29 municipalities have adopted regulations on polystyrene.
“With the many safer alternatives that exist today, we don’t need polystyrene, or any single-use plastic for that matter,” said Hellerstein. “We need to ban these unnecessary and harmful plastics that are harming wildlife.”
Environment Massachusetts is the statewide, citizen-funded advocacy group working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.