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Plastic Fork Ban Coming
Maybe you can put my to go order in a blender and give me a straw.

State Representative Maxine Dexter (D-Portland), appointed to District 33 in June of 2020 ran on her support for “greater protections for workers.” In her first opportunity to impress her constituents, she introduced HB 2365, which will have a negative impact on her district. Restaurant and food vendor workers make up the third largest non-government industry in her district experiencing a 27% loss in 2020.

HB 2365 prohibits food vendors from using single-use plastic food service ware when selling prepared food, unless specifically requested and then the food service ware can’t be plastic and must be recyclable. It further requires specified restaurants and bed and breakfast facilities to be able to sanitize reusable food service ware.

The pandemic and the Governor’s lockdown has had a devastating impact on restaurants and food vendors. The economy can only rebound with restaurants and food vendors in full operation. Is this the time to ask food vendors to take another hit and slow their recovery that will surely impact the state coffers?

The bill is telling food vendors they can’t provide any service ware that is plastic and service ware must be made entirely from fiber-based materials and readily compostable or readily recyclable; and doesn't contain any PFOA or PFOS chemicals. The “food service ware” list is long, it includes bowls, plates, cups, lids, straws, forks, spoons, knives, chopsticks, clamshells or other containers or any other items used for serving, containing or consuming prepared food, including takeout food and leftovers from partially consumed meals prepared by food vendors; and food service ware accessories includes napkins, cup sleeves, food or beverage trays, condiment packets and saucers, stirrers, splash sticks, toothpicks or any other nonfood item regularly provided alongside prepared food.

Some food vendors have gone mobile to meet the needs of consumers that were locked out of facilities. The bill requires mobile units to be able to sanitize reusable food service ware on premises or at another location.

One can't help but be reminded of the breathlessness with which environmentalists told us that we must have a plastic grocery bag ban in 2019, only to be told that it's no longer the best practice to use our reusable cloth bags and we can go ahead and use plastic bags again, the planet be damned. This bill might have some areas that are viable for research, but government needs to make their case and show the effect on the economy before they slap on such a restricting regulation and send enforcement after the food industry when they are surviving on a string.

--Donna Bleier

Post Date: 2021-01-18 07:37:50Last Update: 2021-01-17 17:36:42

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