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Styrofoam manufacturer sends letter to Somerville, objecting to proposed ban

Posted by Jarret Bencks  March 18, 2013 11:42 AM

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A manufacturer of polystyrene containers has submitted a letter to the Somerville Board of Aldermen, asking they put the brakes on a proposed ban of such containers.

The 11-page letter from Dart Container Corporation, a global manufacturer and distributor of polystyrene -- commonly known as Styrofoam -- containers, was entered into the record in a Board of Aldermen meeting March 14.

The proposed ban is being considered for environmental reasons, which the company refutes in the letter. The letter says that although it typically is not recycled because it is difficult to collect and transport, polystyrene is recyclable. It also argues that a ban won't be effective in reducing litter, only shifting it from polystyrene to other materials, like paper.

Somerville is considering a new city ordinance that would ban polystyrene cups and containers from use at restaurants, cafeterias, and carryout food establishments. The ban would go in effect one year after its approval. As currently written, it carries a maximum fine of $300.

The proposal was originally brought forward by Aldermen Bob Trane, who cited the negative environmental impact of such containers as reason for the ban. Trane brought forward the proposal in December, on the heels of Brookline approving a polystyrene ban

The aldermen's Legislative Matters Committee agreed to table the proposed ordinance for two weeks last week in order to conduct a closer review of potential economic impacts such an ordinance would have.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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