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TELL US: Should Foam Beverage, Food Containers be Banned?

Residents in Brookline supported a move to ban the use of all foam food and beverage containers, a move that was approved at Special Town Meeting.

One group of residents in the Bay State has taken a stand against the use of plastic foam food and beverage containers at local restaurants. 

A Special Town Meeting in Brookline this fall voted to ban the use of polystyrene (plastic foam) food and beverage containers for take-out or to-go at food establishments in town. The ban will go into effect on Dec. 1, 2013.

The move came after Town Meeting member Nancy Heller proposed the article due to the health risks involved in the use of the cups. As a result, the move was approved by a vote of 169-27. 

But not everyone was in favor of the move. Canton-based Dunkin Donuts spoke against the measure on Tuesday; spokesperson Christine Riley said that, despite looking, the company has not found a better alternative to the foam cups to keep coffee warm. 

Meanwhile, some petitions have cropped up, such as on Change.org, calling on Dunkin Donuts to cease use of the cups, citing hazards to the environment. Last year, the company said it was looking at alternatives to the material and also weighing the possibility of an in-store recycling program, according to a WHDH report.

But what do you think? Should Brookline's move be followed by other communities in the Commonwealth? Or should establishments be allowed to use the material for food and beverage containers? 

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Bobby Calo November 27, 2012 at 01:58 PM
A good alternative to foam cups to keep coffee warm is using your own insulated mug thereby reducing and reusing, saving on costs (energy and natural resources) including the cost to our health and environment. Although it is the cheapest material to purchase for many uses, the end cost is in our health (diseases ...namely cancers and asthmas) not to mention the landfill issues as it does not break down readily and toxics leach from it into our water and soils. It is not conclusive (totally accepted) that it causes cancer in humans, although there is evidence it causes cancer in animals and it seems that there is more and more mounting evidence to support cause and effect. So, pay 'up front' for the eco-safe alternative or pay later with our health and mess we leave to our kids. Best solution is to bring your own mug to Dunkin Donuts and wash it out later..is that crazy?
Mary G November 27, 2012 at 04:30 PM
I also take my own coffee mug with me, I just leave a couple in my car and rinse them out after each cup. I don't think it's crazy it's really easy to do for yourself. That said, I don't agree with the ban. I think it is for us, as consumers, to use our own containers, choose better containers when available, or choose to not buy from stores that use bad packaging materials. If the majority of consumers want something, businesses must comply or ignore demand at their own peril. I think legislation and top-down approaches aren't a good solution, I would rather have them require every store to have an alternative packaging we could choose, which would eventually become the preferred packaging as consumers become educated. Even that could be expensive and difficult to implement for chains like D&D. Brookline sounds like a really controlling place, I wouldn't want to be there!
DJ November 27, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I am no lawyer, but Brookline's 'example' is a joke. What Brookline is trying to do could potentially require other towns, cities, states to follow suit. Commerce laws protect businesses from such bans or requirements to industry standards for a business to use alternative and more expensive materials. What Brookline is trying to do is a very naive, look at we did manuver that could have a ripple but worse crippling effect to hundreds of thousands of businesses nation wide. I think DD will get the ban reversed in the near future...
Dee November 27, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Definitely ban this unnecessary trash and health hazard.
Think Twice November 28, 2012 at 01:49 PM
This isn't something new that Brookline is spearheading... it is a nationwide movement (more than 100 cities nationwide have passed the ban) that continues gathering steam, and Brookline is the latest to join the effort. Here's a list of other places that have already banned styrofoam use (from similar movement in Chicago - list could have grown). I don't see this having a major impact upon businesses... industry regulation is common, particularly in cases where both health and environmental impact is proven. And businesses have new regulations to comply with every year - changes that typically involve cost that's assumed as part of doing business. In this case, there are inexpensive alternatives that are easy to implement. CITIES THAT HAVE BANNED Berkeley, CA San Fransisco, CA Malibu, CA Alameda, CA Emeryville, CA Fairfax, CA Hercules, CA Laguna Beach, CA Los Angeles City, CA Millbrae, CA Monterey, CA Newport Beach, CA Huntington Beach, CA Oakland, CA Santa Cruz, CA Pittsburg, CA Palo Alto, CA Pacific Grove, CA San Bruno, CA Santa Monica, CA Orange County CA. (containing approx. 34 cities and towns) Seattle, WA Portland, Oregon San Mateo County CA. (approx. 20 cities and towns) Santa Cruz County CA. (approx. 53 cities and towns) Ventura County CA. (approx. 73 cities and towns) Glen Cove, N.Y. Suffolk County N.Y. (approx. 263 cities/towns) Source: http://nofoamchicago.org/NFC_Citiesbannedlist.pdf
Kristina Greene November 29, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Not only is Brookline not the first city in the US to ban Styrofoam, it is not even the first in Massachusetts. Great Barrington banned Styrofoam a couple of years ago. And guess what? There is a DD right on Main St that is using paper cups!

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