Boston residents could soon find themselves getting grub on the go in some more eco-friendly containers if officials get their way and ban eateries and establishments from serving up food and drinks using Styrofoam materials.
City Council President Stephen Murphy wants to put an end to the use of non-recyclable and expanded polystyrene food service products, the Styrofoam-like substance that is used at places like Dunkin’ Donuts to serve coffees, so Boston can live a greener lifestyle.
According to a proposal from Murphy, the costs associated with the use and disposal of “Styrofoam,” expanded polystyrene and other types of plastics “creates a burden to the city’s solid waste disposal system” as well as poses a health risk to city residents.
“It’s something we should consider,” said Murphy, during a City Council hearing on Wednesday afternoon.
The ordinance proposal will be sent on to the appropriate city council sub-committee for discussion and a public hearing. If it passes, employees from the city’s Inspectional Services division would have the authority to issue a warning to businesses for a first offense, slap them with a $150 fine for a second offense, and issue a $300 fine for a subsequent violation.
Murphy claims there are plenty of alternatives to the wasteful products currently being used by Hub businesses.
“It is sound public policy, frankly, from an environmental standpoint,” said Murphy.
According to representatives from Dunkin’ Donuts, however, a maneuver of this sort could be tough for the coffee business off the bat.
“There is no easily recyclable hot cup available in the marketplace today. Dunkin’ Donuts, along with others in the industry, is actively searching for a more sustainable cup solution,” said Karen Raskopf, SVP of Corporate Communications for Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.
Raskopf told BostInno that guests count on the company to “keep them running” with products served in a cup that “can hold up to their busiest days, and keeps coffee hot longer while keeping hands cool.”
While there doesn’t seem to be an immediate answer to switching up the expanded polystyrene cups, she said they are looking at ways to put out a more eco-friendly coffee container.
“We are working hard to find a solution that works for our guests, franchisees and the environment,” said Raskopf.
In the meantime, Dunkin’ Donuts says they have reduced the weight of both foam hot cups and plastic cold cups, and offer a reusable mug program as an option for their franchisees.
In 2009, Murphy was joined by 10 other members of the City Council, most of who are still serving, to ban Styrofoam cups from shops in Boston because of its non-bio degradable material, which he said lasts hundreds of years in a land fill.
“It didn’t happen,” he said of the failed attempt, but other cities and towns have jumped on the bandwagon since then.