Environment Massachusetts is knocking on doors across the state to take on the waste that’s killing our wildlife

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Environment Massachusetts

Boston, Mass. — Environment Massachusetts is deploying hundreds of door-knockers this summer in towns across the state to help educate Bay Staters about the plastic waste that is killing our wildlife.

“Nothing that we use for a couple of minutes should pollute the oceans for centuries,” said Ben Hellerstein, director of Environment Massachusetts.

Polystyrene — the stuff we call styrofoam — is one of the worst kinds of plastic waste, often used for cups and food containers. Americans throw away an estimated 70 million polystyrene cups every day. About a third of that plastic waste ends up in our rivers, lakes and oceans. Plastics don’t biodegrade, which means they remain intact or break down into smaller pieces. Plastic fragments have been found ingested by literally hundreds of species, including 86 percent of all sea turtles and almost half of all seabird and marine mammal species.

Across the country, plastic foam bans have passed in more than 200 cities and other communities, from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. Here in Massachusetts, 75 cities and towns have passed plastic bag regulation, and 29 have polystyrene regulations.

Some companies are also leading the way. By the end of this year, McDonald’s will phase out foam cups and containers worldwide, in favor of 100 percent recycled materials.

Environment Massachusetts is advocating for a state-wide ban on polystyrene containers from restaurants to help protect our waterways and our wildlife.

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.