Polystyrene Bill In Massachusetts Legislature

Polystyrene Bill In Massachusetts Legislature

Prohibiting Polystyrene Containers
February 2, 2012 -- A bill has been introduced in the Massachusetts legislature that, if passed, would allow cities or towns to ban the sale and use of polystyrene containers. Polystyrene containers are the foam containers used by most restaurants and food stores to package carry-out food and beverages.

Filed by Senator Brian A. Joyce from Milton on January 20th, Bill S1034 was referred to the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government on January 24th. A hearing was scheduled on January 25th.

Section 1 of Bill S1034 states:
Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, a city or town may prohibit the sale or use of polystyrene packaging products by any vendor, commercial or retail user of polystyrene unless the vendors or retail users of such products demonstrate to an official designated by the chief executive officer of the city or town that such vendors or users are actively engaged in a comprehensive effort to recycle the polystyrene packaging materials which it generates. Such recycling effort shall include ongoing collection and delivery of such packaging materials to an established recycling facility.
Polystyrene Recycling
It is interesting to note that, the town of Milton, Massachusetts, where Sen. Joyce is from, has a section on the the town's website about polystyrene recycling. Kudos!

Polystyrene is hard to recycle and therefore, it is usually hard to find businesses that recycle polystyrene. Polystyrene is a form of plastic and has a resin code {6}. PBBR has created a partial list of places that will accept polystyrene for recycling, which will be updated continuously. See "Polystyrene Recyclers"

In 2010, plastic containers and packaging generated 13.68 million tons of municipal solid waste and only 1.66 million tons were recovered (recycled). Translated, 12 million tons of plastic containers and packaging were discarded and not recycled. Only 3.6% of polystyrene containers and packaging that were generated in municipal solid waste were recovered.(1)

(1) EPA Municipal Solid Waste Fact Sheet
Cover Photo: Polystyrene container. Credit: Ted Duboise

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