Styrofoam Ban Under Consideration in Shrewsbury

For restaurants like Brody's Diner on Route 20 in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Styrofoam is a big part of business – from coffee cups to take-out containers.

"We have a lot of to-go orders, especially on the weekends," said Brody's Diner employee Nina Cantin.

But next week, Shrewsbury will be voting on whether to ban single-use to-go containers made of "expanded polystyrene Styrofoam” in food establishments.

"It'll be more expensive for us to get the supplies that they want us to use," said Brody's Diner employee Christina Gonzales.

"I guess if the prices are higher on the cost going out, we have to raise our prices, too," Cantin said.

Juniors at Shrewsbury High School who petitioned for the change think the costs will be minimal compared to the health risks.

"It leeches chemicals into your body once you eat off those trays or cups," said petitioner Anish Warty.

"Do we really want to be feeding our kids something that we know causes cancer?" asked fellow petitioner Siddhant Dosi.

The superintendent has been supportive of their efforts and the district crunched the numbers on what it would cost to make the change.

With approximately 425,000 Styrofoam trays used annually, there would be a roughly $24,000 annual cost increase for alternatives, which would be about a 10-to-20-cent increase per meal.

"What we need to look at is the health and the future for Shrewsbury as a whole," said Rahul Razdan, who started the petition.

"We think that it's sending a message to businesses that you can be competitive without Styrofoam," added fellow petitioner Anirudh Iyre.

And some restaurant owners say although it may mean finding a cheaper alternative, they’re not opposed to it.

"They had the ban about the plastic bags, we pulled them out, we used paper, the same thing happened with Styrofoam," said Pepperoni Express House of Pizza manager Georgios Sofikidis. "I think it's a good move."

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