Prohibit Use & Distribution of Polystyrene By-law
- What is the purpose of the bylaw?
The purpose of this Bylaw is to prohibit the use and distribution of expanded and clear or rigid polystyrene in food service ware and packaging material in the Town of Maynard.
- What is Polystyrene?
Polystyrene is a synthetic resin, used chiefly as lightweight rigid foams and solid containers. Clear or Rigid polystyrene is generally used to make clear clamshell containers, clear or colored lids, and utensils. Expanded polystyrene includes both blown polystyrene and expanded and extruded foams. Foam polystyrene is generally used to make cups, bowls, plates, trays, clamshell containers, meat trays, and egg cartons
- When does the bylaw take effect?
The bylaw will apply to food and retail establishments July 26, 2022.
- What are some options to replace polystyrene?
Acceptable replacements can be reusable OR biodegradable OR Recyclable.
If you are unsure if your container meets the regulation, have the manufacturer or distributer confirm if the packaging meets the regulation. Have them provide a letter stating how it complies, such as:
- The product meets ASTM Standards D6400 or D6868, or
- The product is accepted in Maynard's Single Stream recycling. (However, plastics labeled number 6 are not acceptable)
- Will businesses be fined for noncompliance?
Yes, any food or retail establishments using or distributing polystyrene in violation of this bylaw shall be subject to a non-criminal disposition fine as specified in Appendix A of the Regulations for Enforcement of Town Bylaws under M.L.G. Chapter 40, Section 21D and the Bylaw for Non-Criminal Disposition of Violations. The following penalties shall apply: 1st offense, warning; 2nd offense, $50; 3rd offense $100 and appearance in front of the Board of Health; 4th and each subsequent offense $200.
- Are there any exceptions?
Yes, there are several exemptions.
A 6-month exemption is available if compliance causes an undue hardship for your business. Submit a Hardship Application to the Board of Health, PRIOR TO July 26, 2022, explaining how compliance would have a negative impact on your business. Examples include financial burdens, excessive existing inventory, issues sourcing compliant products, etc.
Download the Hardship Application Form (PDF).
The bylaw does not apply to non-commercial retail establishments.
Food or goods packaged or prepared outside the Town of Maynard is exempt from the provisions of this Bylaw, provided such food is not altered, packaged, or repackaged within town limits.
Coolers and ice chests that are wholly encapsulated in a durable material and intended for reuse are exempt from the provisions of this Bylaw.
- Is my establishment responsible for composting biodegradable packaging?
This is the text of the Town By-law.
Section 1: Purpose and Intent. The purpose of this Bylaw is to prohibit the use and distribution of expanded and clear or rigid polystyrene in food service ware and packaging material in the Town of Maynard.
Section 2: Definitions
- ASTM STANDARD: materials meeting the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International Standards D6400 or D6868 for biodegradable and compostable plastics, as those standards may be amended. D6400 is the specification for plastics designed for compostability in municipal or industrial aerobic composting facilities. D6868 is the specification for aerobic compostability of plastics used as coatings on a compostable substrate.
- BIODEGRADABLE: materials that will completely degrade and return to nature, ie, decompose into elements found in nature in three to six months after customary disposal.
- COMPOSTABLE: materials that will completely degrade into, or otherwise become part of, usable compost (e.g. soil-conditioning material, mulch) in a safe and timely manner. Compostable disposable food service ware must meet ASTM-Standards for compostability and any bio-plastic or plastic-like product must be clearly labeled, preferably with a color symbol, such that any customer or processor can easily distinguish the ASTM Standard compostable plastic from non-ASTM Specification compostable plastic.
- DISPOSABLE FOOD SERVICE WARE: all containers and utensils (such as bowls, plates, trays, cartons, cups, lids, forks, spoons, knives) and other items designed for one- time or non-durable uses on or in which any food vendor directly places or packages prepared foods or which are used to consume foods. This includes, but is not limited to, service ware for takeout foods and/or leftovers from partially consumed meals prepared at food establishments.
- FOOD ESTABLISHMENT: an operation that prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption. This includes without limitation, restaurants, caterers, and food trucks.
- POLYSTYRENE: a synthetic resin, which is a polymer of styrene, used chiefly as lightweight rigid foams and solid containers.
- Clear or rigid polystyrene: also known as "oriented," which is produced by stretching extruded PS film, improving visibility through the material by reducing haziness and increasing stiffness. This is often used in packaging where the manufacturer would like the consumer to see the enclosed product. This is referenced in this Bylaw as "Rigid Polystyrene". Rigid polystyrene is generally used to make clear clamshell containers, clear or colored lids, and utensils.
- Expanded polystyrene: includes both blown polystyrene and expanded and extruded foams (sometimes called "Styrofoam", a Dow Chemical Co. trademarked form of EPS insulation) also referred to as expanded polystyrene (EPS), and in this section is referenced as "Foam Polystyrene". Foam polystyrene is generally used to make cups, bowls, plates, trays, clamshell containers, meat trays, and egg cartons.
- PREPARED FOOD: food or beverages, which are served, packaged, cooked, chopped, sliced, mixed, brewed, frozen, squeezed or otherwise prepared on the food establishment's premises within the Town of Maynard. Prepared food may be eaten either on or off the premises, also known as "takeout food".
- RECYCLABLE: materials that can be sorted, cleansed, and reconstituted using Maynard's available recycling collection programs for the purpose of using the altered form in the manufacture of a new product. "Recycling" does not include burning, incinerating, converting, or otherwise thermally destroying solid waste.
- RETAIL ESTABLISHMENT: any commercial facility that sells goods directly to the consumer including, but not limited to grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, convenience stores, restaurants, retail stores, seasonal and temporary businesses.
- REUSABLE: materials that will be used more than once in its same form by a food establishment. Reusable food service ware includes: tableware, flatware, food or beverage containers, packages, or trays, such as, but not limited to, soft drink bottles and milk containers that are designed to be returned to the distributor. Reusable also includes durable containers, packages, or trays used on-premises or returnable containers brought back to the food establishment.
Section 3: Regulations
- Food and retail establishments are prohibited from serving prepared foods to customers in either rigid polystyrene or foam polystyrene food service ware.
- Food and retail establishments will use biodegradable, reusable, or recyclable food service wares and packaging. Reusable wares in place of disposable products are recommended for food served on the premises.
- No retail establishment in the Town of Maynard may sell, offer for sale, or otherwise distribute:
- Disposable food service ware made from foam polystyrene or rigid polystyrene
- Meat trays, fish trays, seafood trays, vegetable trays, or egg cartons packaged within the town made in whole or in any part with foam polystyrene or rigid polystyrene.
- Packing materials, including packing peanuts and shipping boxes made in whole or in any part with foam polystyrene that is not wholly encapsulated in a more durable material.
Section 4: Exceptions
- Food or goods packaged or prepared outside the Town of Maynard is exempt from the provisions of this Bylaw, provided such food is not altered, packaged, or repackaged within town limits.
- Coolers and ice chests that are wholly encapsulated in a durable material and intended for reuse are exempt from the provisions of this Bylaw.
Section 5: Enforcement. Enforcing this bylaw shall be the responsibility of the Board of Health, who shall determine the inspection process to be followed, incorporating the process into other town duties as appropriate. Any establishment distributing polystyrene in any of its forms in violation of this bylaw may be subject to a non-criminal disposition fine as specified in Appendix A of the Regulation for Enforcement of Town Bylaws under M.G.L Chapter 40, Section 21D and the Bylaw for Non-Criminal Disposition of Violations. The following penalties shall apply:
- First offense: Warning
- Second offense: $50
- Third offense: $100 and appearance in front of Board of Health
- Fourth and subsequent offenses: $200
Section 6: Exemptions. The Board of Health may exempt any food and retail establishment from the requirements of this Bylaw for a period of six months upon finding that the requirements of this section would cause undue hardship.
Section 7: Severability. Each section of this bylaw shall be construed as separate to the end that if any section, sentence, clause, or phrase thereof shall be invalid for any reason, the remainder of this Bylaw shall continue in force.
Section 8: Enactment. This Bylaw shall go into effect six months after the date of approval by the Attorney General.