Starting September 1, 2016, all vendors on the island of Nantucket will be required to find new packaging to replace those that are made from plastic, including styrofoam, and switch to a biodegradable alternative. This includes packaging from shops, boutiques, restaurants, food trucks and stalls at a farmer’s market, according to the town’s Board of Health 1987 bylaw that has been reinstated.
The packaging items barred include plastic bags, packing materials, coffee lids and takeout containers.
“Nantucket’s limited space available for landfill is the primary reason that this regulation will be put into effect,” the department said in a press release. “Styrofoam and plastic packaging have played a significant role in unsustainably filling available space because they do not break down easily.”
The biodegradable packaging must consist of materials that break down and return to nature after a short time after disposal. The materials also must be certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute.
Each vendor within the tiny island off of Cape Cod must display a notice proximate to the cash register and plainly visible to its patron stating the following:
“All packaging added or supplied by this vendor or commercial establishment for merchandise of any type being removed from this establishment must be biodegradable packaging. No non-biodegradable packaging may be added to or supplied by this vendor or commercial establishment for merchandise of any type being removed from the establishment. Board of Public Works regulation 71.00.”
Some exceptions to the ban include plastic straws and utensils, small plastic containers of up to two ounces, products made off-island and those distributed by food banks and programs are among the materials exempt from the bylaw.
The maximum penalty for each violation or offense is $300.
Nantucket is billed as the first town in the country to ban plastics 24 years ago.