Skip to Content

Download PDF

HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 449        FILED ON: 1/11/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2087


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Frank I. Smizik and Michael Barrett


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act to restrict the use of polystyrene.






Frank I. Smizik

15th Norfolk

Michael Barrett

Third Middlesex

Ruth B. Balser

12th Middlesex

Lori A. Ehrlich

8th Essex

Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

Daniel A. Wolf

Cape and Islands

Mary S. Keefe

15th Worcester

Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex

Sarah K. Peake

4th Barnstable

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

Aaron Vega

5th Hampden

Paul R. Heroux

2nd Bristol

Timothy R. Madden

Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket

Cory Atkins

14th Middlesex

Denise Andrews

2nd Franklin

Thomas P. Conroy

13th Middlesex

HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 449        FILED ON: 1/11/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2087

By Representative Smizik of Brookline and Senator Barrett, a joint petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2087) of Frank I. Smizik and others relative to prohibiting the dispensing of food in disposable food service containers made from polystyrene or expanded polystyrene.  Public Health. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen



An Act to restrict the use of polystyrene.


              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              An Act to Restrict the Use of Polystyrene

              Chapter 111 of the general laws is hereby amended by inserting the following section 5T:

              SECTION 1.


              “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, and hinged or lidded containers. This does not include single-use disposable items such as straws, cup lids, or utensils.

              “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.

              “Expanded Polystyrene” (EPS) means polystyrene that has been expanded or “blown” using a gaseous blowing agent into a solid foam.

              “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.

              SECTION 2.

              Except as provided herein, food establishments are prohibited from dispensing food to customers in disposable food service containers made from polystyrene or from expanded polystyrene.

              SECTION 3.

              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.

              SECTION 4.

              No person shall purchase, and no person shall offer for purchase, or sell, or give away, or otherwise distribute any cups made from polystyrene or from expanded polystyrene.

The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.