On Tuesday, April 16, Newton city councilors passed the Sustainable Food Containers and Packaging Ordinance, a ban on restaurants using disposable plastic stirrers and foam polystyrene food containers, as part of an effort to eliminate single-use non-biodegradable plastics from the waste stream. Foam polystyrene food containers and plastic stirrers cannot be recycled under the current system, are considered environmental hazards, and polystyrene is a chemical health hazard.

The measure, which will take effect in January 2020, will also ban retailers from selling or distributing disposable food containers made from polystyrene foam, and ban selling or distributing foam polystyrene packing material.

The ordinance was recently docketed by Newton City Councilors Vicki Danberg, Susan Albright, Emily Norton, Deborah Crossley, David Kalis, and Alison Leary. Green Newton is especially grateful to City Councilor Vicki Danberg for bringing together and leading a team of volunteers from our group to research the impacts of polystyrene on our community and build a persuasive case in favor of the ordinance. Green Newton board member, Sunwoo Kahng, also presented extensive research at city council committee meetings on how our community will reap environmental benefits after this ordinance goes into effect.  Newton is proudly joining 32 cities and towns across 11 counties in Massachusetts that have already banned some form of polystyrene.