This story was first published on April 5, 2020.
On March 31, the Maplewood Township Committee passed a ban on the use of polystyrene foam containers for use by any food provider businesses in the town, effective October 1, 2020.
The ban also disallows the Township from making a purchase of any polystyrene foam containers or using them for any Township-sponsored events.
The ordinance contains certain exemptions; for example, for the use of polystyrene foam in packaging raw or prepared foods prepared or packaged outside the Township of Maplewood.
See the full ordinance below.
The Township also reaffirmed the continuation of its plastic bag ban for points of purchase in the Township, passing an amended ordinance that tightened restrictions.
In response a question from resident Joan Crystal who asked, “Given advice to use disposable bags during the COVID-19 crisis to prevent spread of disease, is the township considering relaxing the single use bag ordinance at this time?”, Mayor Frank McGehee responded simply, “Ms. Crystal, the answer is ‘No.'”
Township Committee member Nancy Adams added, “I just want to address that comment. This is really a clarification or tightening of this ordinance to more clearly define reusable bags and make it less likely that some businesses could skirt this ordinance. … While I understand we are in a pandemic crisis right now … this just clarifies and tightens up some of our definitions. I think we still need to pay attention to our environment for when we come out on the other side.”
“Thank you, Ms. Adams, I agree,” said McGehee who reported that experts had cautioned the Township against some of the advice about plastic bags being circulated, saying that there has been a “lot of hearsay out there including this narrative as well.”
(Note: Village Green reached out to South Orange Village President Sheena Collum who confirmed that South Orange’s Board of Trustees will not be making any revisions to its plastic bag ban due to COVID-19).
ORDINANCE #2990-20 AN ORDINANCE TO REGULATE POLYSTYRENE FOAM DISPOSABLE FOOD SERVICE WARE
This ordinance will regulate the use of polystyrene foam disposable food service ware and packaging.
WHEREAS, the Governing Body of the Township of Maplewood (“Township”) believes it has a duty to investigate and implement all necessary and proper steps the Township can take to protect the environment and the public health, welfare, and safety.
WHEREAS, the Township’s taxpayers currently bear the costs associated with the negative effects of plastic straws, and polystyrene foam containers on the solid waste stream, drainage, litter, and the negative consequences of the foregoing environmental impacts; and
WHEREAS, the Township seeks, to the fullest extent of its jurisdiction and authority, to conserve resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in furtherance of the Paris Agreement, reduce waste and litter, and to protect the public health, welfare, and safety, which includes the protection of the environment, waterways, and wildlife, in order to attempt to protect and increase the quality of life for the Township’s residents and visitors; and
WHEREAS, studies document and participating municipalities report that prohibiting the use and distribution of plastic straws, and polystyrene foam containers at businesses, will dramatically reduce the use of those polluting items.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Township Committee of the Township of Maplewood, Essex County, State of New Jersey that:
FIRST: Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
DISPOSABLE FOOD SERVICE WARE
All containers, bowls, plates, trays, cartons, cups, lids and other items designed for onetime use and on or in which any restaurant or retail food vendor directly places or packages prepared foods for consumption. This includes, but is not limited to, service ware for takeout food or drinks and/or leftovers from partially consumed meals prepared by food providers.
Any person located within the Township that is a retailer of prepared food or beverages for public consumption, including, but not limited to, any store, supermarket, delicatessen, restaurant, shop, caterer, bar, pub, coffee shop, coffee stand, juice bar, convenience store, liquor store, mobile food vendor or cart, or any organization, group, or individual that regularly provides prepared food or beverages as part of its services.
Any individual, business, firm, event promoter, trust, joint stock company, corporation (both for-profit and nonprofit) including a governmental entity, partnership, or association or other organization or group, however organized.
EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE (EPS)
Blown polystyrene and expanded and extruded foams that are thermoplastic petrochemical materials utilizing a styrene monomer and processed by any number of techniques, including fusion of polymer spheres (expandable bead foam), injection 3 molding, foam molding, and extrusion-blown molding (extruded foam polystyrene) sometimes called “Styrofoam”, a Dow Chemical Co. trademark, for polystyrene foam. Such term shall not include rigid polystyrene.
POLYSTYRENE LOOSE-FILL PACKAGING (commonly known as “PACKING PEANUTS”) A void-filling packaging product made of expanded polystyrene that is used as a packaging fill.
PREPARED FOOD Food or beverages which are served, packaged, cooked, chopped, sliced, mixed, brewed, frozen, squeezed, or otherwise prepared on the food vendor’s premises or within the Township of Maplewood. For the purposes of this section, “prepared food” includes food which may be eaten on or off the premises, including take-out food.
RAW FOOD Food or beverages which are served, packaged, cooked, chopped, sliced, mixed, brewed, frozen, squeezed, or otherwise prepared on the food vendor’s premises or within the Township of Maplewood. For the purposes of this section, “raw food” includes meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and vegetables on trays made in whole or in part from polystyrene foam either as separate items or as part of the sale to consumers from a refrigerator case or similar retail appliance.
SECOND: Distribution, Sale and/or Use Prohibited; Permitted Use of Disposable Food Service Ware.
a. Food providers are prohibited from providing prepared food and/or raw food in disposable food service ware that contains polystyrene foam.
b. No person may sell, offer for sale, or otherwise distribute within the Township of Maplewood any disposable food service ware that contains polystyrene foam.
c. All Township facilities, Township-managed concessions, Township-sponsored events, and Township-permitted events are prohibited from using polystyrene foam disposable food service ware. This prohibition shall apply to the event organizers, agents of the event organizers, event food vendors, and any other party, including nonprofit organizations, who enters into an agreement to provide food with one or more of the co-sponsors of the event.
d. Township departments are prohibited from purchasing polystyrene foam disposable service ware.
THIRD: Exemptions. The restrictions set forth herein shall not apply to:
a. Raw or prepared foods prepared or packaged outside the Township of Maplewood. Providers of food prepared or packaged outside of the Township of Maplewood are encouraged to comply with the provisions of this section.
b. Any food provider or person may apply for a hardship exemption to delay the enforcement of this section by demonstrating that the food provider has purchased a supply of polystyrene foam disposable food service ware prior to the passage of this section and that the supply will not be exhausted prior to the effective date of this section. The Director of Community Development shall make a determination concerning the exemption upon submission to the Director of Community Development or his/her designee of proof of purchase showing the date of purchase of polystyrene foam disposable food service wares and the quantity purchased, as well as information concerning the period of time needed to deplete the supply. All applications for an exemption must be submitted within 60 days of the effective date of this section. Any appeal of a determination shall be brought to the Township Committee.
FOURTH: Enforcement; Violations and Penalties.
a. The Division of Health and the Division of Code Enforcement have the responsibility for enforcement of this section for all food providers.
b. Any food provider or person subject to this section who violates or fails to comply with any of the requirements of this section after an initial written warning notice has been issued shall be subject to the following penalties:
1. A fine of $100 for the first violation;
2. A fine of $200 for the second violation; or
3. A fine of $500 for the third and any subsequent violations.
4. A fine shall be imposed for each day a violation occurs or is allowed to continue.
If any section, paragraph, subparagraph, clause or provision of this Ordinance shall be adjudged invalid, such adjudication shall apply only to the specific section, paragraph, subparagraph, clause or provision so adjudged and the remainder of the Ordinance shall be deemed valid and effective.
SIXTH: Repeal of Prior Ordinances Ordinances or parts of Ordinances inconsistent with the provisions of this Ordinance be and the same are hereby repealed to the extent of any such inconsistencies.
SEVENTH: Effective Date This Ordinance shall take effect on October 1, 2020, after final passage and publication and as provided by law.
PUBLIC NOTICE is hereby given that the foregoing proposed Ordinance was introduced and read by title at a meeting of the Township Committee of the Township of Maplewood, held on March 3, 2020, and that the Township Committee met again on March 31, 2020, at the Municipal Building, 574 Valley Street, Maplewood, New Jersey, at which time and place the Township Committee held a hearing and proceeded to consider the said Ordinance on final reading and final passage.
______________________________ ELIZABETH J. FRITZEN, R.M.C. Township Clerk