An Act to Restrict the Use of Polystyrene
Chapter 111 of the general laws is hereby amended by inserting the following section 5T:
“Disposable Food Container” means single-use disposable products used in the restaurant, food service, and food sales industries for serving, transporting, or packaging prepared, ready-to-consume, or uncooked food or beverages. This includes but is not limited to plates, cups, bowls, trays, hinged or lidded containers, straws, cup lids, and utensils.
“Expanded Polystyrene” (EPS) means polystyrene that has been expanded or “blown” using a gaseous blowing agent into a solid foam.
“Food Establishment” means an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption, including but not limited to any establishment requiring a permit to operate in accordance with the State Food Code.
“Polystyrene” means and includes expanded polystyrene which is a thermoplastic petrochemical material utilizing a styrene monomer and processed by any number of techniques including, but not limited to, fusion of polymer spheres (expandable bead polystyrene), injection molding, form molding, and extrusion-blow molding (extruded foam polystyrene). The term “polystyrene” also includes clear or solid polystyrene, which is known as “oriented polystyrene”.
“Prepared Food” means any food or beverage prepared for consumption on the food provider's premises, using any cooking or food preparation technique. This does not include any raw uncooked meat, fish or eggs unless provided for consumption without further food preparation.
“Retail Establishment” means any commercial business facility that sells goods directly to the consumer including but not limited to grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, convenience stores, restaurants, retail stores and vendors selling clothing, food, and personal items
Except as provided herein, on or after August 1, 2018, food establishments shall be prohibited from dispensing food to customers in disposable food service containers made from expanded polystyrene.
Except as provided herein, on and after August 1, 2018, retail establishments shall be prohibited from selling or distributing expanded polystyrene food service ware to customers.
The commissioner of public health shall promulgate regulations for the enforcement of the foregoing section, which regulations shall provide for fines not to exceed one thousand dollars for any single violation and for deferments, in accordance with the following:
A. Upon written application to the health department of the town or city in which it operates, and upon showing by the food establishment that the conditions of this provision would cause undue hardship, the municipal health department or its designee may defer application of this provision for a food establishment for a one year period. An “undue hardship” shall mean a situation unique to the food establishment where there are no reasonable alternatives to the use of expanded polystyrene disposable food service containers and compliance with this provision would cause significant economic hardship to that food establishment.
B. A food establishment granted a deferment must reapply prior to the end of that period and demonstrate continued undue hardship, if it wishes to have the deferment extended. Deferments may only be granted for intervals not to exceed one year.
C. The application for a deferment or extension thereof shall include all information necessary for the municipal health department or its designee to make its decision, including but not limited to, documentation showing the factual support for the claimed deferment. The municipal health department or its designee may require the applicant to provide such additional information that it reasonably deems necessary to render a decision.
D. The municipal health department or its designee may approve the deferment application, in whole or in part, with or without conditions.
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