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Cambridge Businesses to Phase-Out Styrofoam and other Polystyrene Items

caution sign The information on this page may be outdated as it was published 7 years ago.

Cambridge Businesses to Phase-Out Styrofoam and other Polystyrene items

Polystyrene Ordinance goes into effect on October 20, 2016

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – October 6, 2016 – The City of Cambridge will prohibit the use of single-use disposable polystyrene food containers at Food and Beverage Establishments beginning October 20, 2016. The Polystyrene Ordinance seeks to reduce the promulgation of polystyrene food service items in order to advance solid waste reduction and protect the health of its citizens.

Polystyrene does not biodegrade, and is hard to recycle. Studies show that polystyrene containers may leach harmful chemicals into food and beverages. 

Cambridge businesses and establishments that routinely serve food/beverage to the public will no longer be able to serve food or beverage in single-use disposable polystyrene containers. A few examples of the polystyrene products prohibited are: hot cups, cold cups, cup lids, hinged or lidded food service containers, and other food-service products. Any food or beverage service product labeled #6 or PS (as seen in image) are prohibited. 

“This ordinance will reduce non-recyclable polystyrene from the waste stream,” said Cambridge Public Works Commissioner Owen O’Riordan, “but we also hope it will be successful in changing people’s behavior to reduce the amount of single-use disposable products consumed.” 

When eliminating polystyrene containers, businesses are encouraged to consider switching to reusable products as opposed to other single-use disposable products. Consumers are encouraged to request or switch to reusable serviceware, such as reusable mugs and water bottles. Food-soiled recyclables must be rinsed of food or drink before placed in recycling bin. 
Polystyrene food service containers exempt from the Ordinance include any single-use polystyrene used to package raw uncooked meat, fish or eggs. 
Learn more about the Polystyrene Ordinance and find helpful information for businesses, such as applying for an exemption, at CambridgeMA.Gov/PSOrdinance.

Page was last modified on 7/25/2023 3:36 AM
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