When does the ordinance take effect?
The ordinance goes into effect on February 9, 2020.
Who is affected by this ordinance?
Once the ordinance goes into effect, food establishments that sell prepared food and City departments cannot hand out or sell plastic stirrers or straws. That includes straws and stirrers made from compostable or biodegradable petroleum or biologically based polymer materials.
Plastic straws can be made available to customers by request. The ordinance does not prohibit any resident from buying and using their own plastic straws or stirrers. Schools have an additional year to comply with the ordinance.
What is a food establishment for the purpose of this ordinance?
Any business requiring a permit to operate in accordance with State Food Code, 105 CMR 5900.000 is subject to this ordinance. The ordinance applies to any business that sells food such as restaurants, bars, coffee shops, convenience stores, food/drink vendors at events, and food trucks. It also applies to City departments.
Why can plastic straws be handed out on request?
Because of disabilities or other medical conditions, it is difficult or impossible for some people to use other types of straws. Offering plastic straws upon request ensures those customers still have access to businesses. If a business has a self-serve area for items like straws, utensils, napkins, and lids, it should put up a sign reading “plastic straws available upon request” to let customers know they are available.
What type of straws and stirrers can a business hand out?
There are a variety of both disposable and reusable straws and stirrers made from non-plastic materials including paper, hay, glass, metal, bamboo, pasta, and candy. Click here to view a list of vendors that offer compliant straws and stirrers. There are also sippy cup style lids for cups. If you are a business owner looking for alternatives, check with companies you buy supplies from for suggestions. If a drink comes with a straw already attached (for example, a juice box), it may be handed out as is.
How will the ordinance be enforced?
During regular inspections or if a complaint is received, City inspectors will confirm compliance with the ordinance. If a business is found to be non-compliant the first violation will result in a warning. Subsequent violations will carry a fine: $100 for the second offense, $300 for the third and higher offense.