Back in May, the Town of Fairhaven voted to reduce the use of single-use plastic products, and on Jan. 1, 2024, the new bylaw will go into effect.

So, what does this mean for restaurants?

It means saying goodbye to plastic and Styrofoam to-go options, but it turns out there are a few exceptions.

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The Amendment to Chapter 164 Solid Waste

By a majority vote, Fairhaven voted to amend the Town of Fairhaven "General By-Laws Chapter 164 Solid Waste" by adding a section catered to Single-Use Plastic Reduction.

“The Town seeks to reduce and eliminate the use of single-use plastic bags, polystyrene and expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) disposable food containers, and to promote the use of reusable alternatives,” said the town’s official agenda.

Through this bylaw, the town aims to protect the health, safety and welfare of its inhabitants by protecting the environment, advancing solid waste reduction, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting waterways.

What Does This Mean for Retail Establishments?

Starting Jan. 1, 2024, single-use plastic bags, polystyrene, and styrofoam will no longer be acceptable to transfer merchandise to consumers.

This also means those pesky Styrofoam coolers that ultimately break into a million pieces will no longer be sold at establishments.

Say goodbye to straws, stirrers, splash sticks and cutlery, too.

From the sounds of it, paper straws and paper to-go containers will be the only viable option for Fairhaven businesses.

Any establishment that fails to comply will be fined up to $200 for each violation.

Are There Any Exceptions?

Plastic wrap, thin-film plastic bags used to contain produce, dry cleaning, dog waste or newspapers, and foods or merchandise prepared or packaged outside the Town of Fairhaven that’s brought into town are all acceptable.

Come January, the switch from plastic to paper may cause a headache for restaurants that have had a system in place for years. It’s safe to say the average establishment has favored the white Styrofoam to-go bins and plastic straws since the dawn of time, and the feedback on paper straws has been less than enthusiastic.

But on Jan. 1, expect all Fairhaven retail establishments to come up with a new earth-friendly system to transfer goods.

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