Jul 26, 2014
Partly Cloudy

Somerville Bans Polystyrene Takeout Containers

The ban will go into effect in one year.

Somerville Bans Polystyrene Takeout Containers

The Somerville Board of Aldermen Thursday night voted to ban the use of polystyrene takeout food containers.

The ban will take effect in one year, according to the ordinance passed Thursday.

The ordinance prohibits the use of single-use disposable food service containers made from expanded polystyrene — often called styrofoam — and it will affect things like coffee cups, plates and hinged food trays.

The ban does not affect packages for uncooked foods, such as trays for meat, eggs and other groceries.

The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously for the ban, despite opposition from some in the food service industry, including Dunkin' Donuts.

As part of the ordinance, the city's director of environment and sustainability will create a list of "available suitable affordable biodegradable/compostable or recyclable alternatives" to polystyrene to assist restaurants making the transition away from polystyrene.

After the ban takes effect, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and other food service establishments could lose their permits to operate if they fail to comply with the ban. They could also face fines of up to $300 per violation, though they'll receive a warning for their first offense.

Ward 6 Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz, who worked on drafting the ordinance as chair of the Board of Aldermen's Legislative Matters Committee, said the city will conduct an education campaign over the next year to inform businesses about the ban.

"I'm thrilled about this. I think this is a really important, great step we took today," Gewirtz said.


Dunkin' Donuts Opposes Proposed Somerville Styrofoam Ban

No Decision Yet on Proposed Somerville Styrofoam Ban

Somerville to Consider Styrofoam Ban

Don’t miss updates from Patch!