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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The Portland City Council has votedto senda proposed ban of polystyrene containers back to committee.

The move followed a long debate over whether banning the plastic foam actually would serve its purpose of benefiting the environment. A few proponents of the ban rose to speak. They argued that there are plenty of recyclable alternatives to polystyrene, and that polystyrene containersendupin coastal waters and pollute the environment.

Opponents showed up in far greater numbers, with people from groupsrepresenting grocery stores, restaurants, and convenience stores sharply criticizing the proposal. They argued that the ban would be harmful to local businesses, andsaid alternatives to polystyrenedo not do as good a job and are no better for the environment because they, too, are lined with plastic.

Councilors who took issue with the proposal said there were too many issues that still needed to be addressed. They voted 8-1 to send the ordinance back to committee to be further debated and amended.