REDUCE PACKAGING WASTE

By Bob Katzen

More than a year ago on July 29, 2019, the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee recommended that the Legislature approve legislation that would require that beginning on January 1, 2021, all retail food establishments using any food serviceware for any food prepared or packaged on the premises use biodegradable, compostable, recyclable or reusable products. The measure remains stuck in the House Ways and Means Committee.

Supporters say that most people assume that all food service ware already meets these commonsense requirements. They note that is not true and that the problem is worsening with the advent of single-stream recycling, which allows more material to be accepted, but does not mean that all food containers put into recycling bins are actually recycled.

“I filed this bill as part of the movement to promote environmental sustainability and help limit unnecessary waste, including waste from non-biodegradable sources such as plastics and Styrofoam that typically are found in food service ware,” said co-sponsor Rep. Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge). “Given that the COVID-19 pandemic, the immediate need for housing stability, and efforts to address police brutality and systemic racism emerged as our top areas of focus so far this year, I can appreciate that it’s been a challenge to move this bill forward at this time, but I remain committed to advancing it and will continue to advocate for it this fall.”

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