Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Pittsfield passes ban on Styrofoam takeout containers
The City Council approved the ban by a 7-3 vote, but gave local businesses eight months to make the change. After that, they will be subject to escalating penalties -- a warning for the first offense, $25 for the second, and $50 for the third -- for each day they serve food or drink in Styrofoam containers.
The controversial decision was reached after spirited debate. The bill was presented to the City Council by attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo, who noted of the containers, "We all agree that it is not biodegradable. Once it is in the landfills, it is there forever."
Two industry representatives spoke in opposition to the bill -- Mike Levy, senior director for the Plastics Foodservice Packaging Group, and Matthew Fisher, who represents the Dart Container Corp. They pointed out that the material in question is a legal product that should not be banned at the local level. In addition, City Council President Melissa Mazzeo said, "I really don't think we should ordain this tonight. I worry that we are going to hurt our businesses."
Vice President Christopher Connell made several attempts to amend the proposal, but did not succeed with any. He noted that the ban is too specific, applying only to takeout containers only, while ignoring such materials used in packing foam, construction materials, or cups purchased at a grocery store.
Staff William M. Dowd at 12:01 PM