Board of Health Amends Food Regulations; Limits Plastic Straws in Restaurants

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Board of Health members unanimously voted to amend the Westford Local Food Regulations on Jan. 13, including limits on plastic straws in restaurants. But the action wasn’t enough to satisfy environmental activist Richard Coleman, the resident responsible for banning plastic bags in 2019.

Board of Health members Joanne Belanger, Sue Hanly, Zac Cataldo, and Stephanie Granger. Michelle Pitoniak Crawford is missing. FILE PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE


Video by Patty Stocker

“What we’re proposing for this evening is a plastic beverage straw and stirrer reduction,” said Rae Dick, Westford Director of Environmental Services. “Food establishments who serve drinks for immediate consumption will not automatically provide plastic straws for a consumer. If a consumer should ask for a plastic straw the business may give them one.”

Dick said the straw should be made of paper or a non-plastic material.

If a restaurant is found to be serving drinks with straws it would be susceptible to fines up to $300.

Fines or not, Coleman was not content.

“As it is now written there is nothing that says a food establishment could not distribute plastic straws,” Coleman said to the board. “…We need to be doing everything possible to reduce our carbon footprint, and plastic straws are part of our plastic footprint.”

Plastic straws add toxins to the environment as they break down. They have also been found inside the noses of turtles with the potential to kill the sea animals.

Coleman said he was turning his sights to bigger things.

“So do whatever you want,” said Coleman. “I am moving on by asking what a green, new deal might mean for the entire town of Westford, and pushing for a statewide ban regarding plastic bags and plastic straws.”

The regulation will go into effect as of July 1.

 

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