If the vote had been called, I was poised to raise my blue card in favor of Mashpee’s Styrofoam ban. That said, more than regulation, what we really need are more citizens/business owners like Mark Lawrence, owner of Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour, who have the consciousness and good sense to apply best practices for both the environment and consumers.
I hope there comes a day when we can fully replace Styrofoam and all plastic packaging, but that will only come from a willingness to make good choices. I’m glad the British citizen/Mashpee homeowner and businessman was allowed to speak at Town Meeting.
Mark showed good faith having already replaced plastic straws, recycling and composting religiously, and experimenting with biodegradable utensils that his customers unfortunately found break too easily on hard ice cream. Paper products, he claims, will cost more and fail to insulate ice cream on a summer day—a risky outcome for a small business that is so generous to the community, hosting events and donating to local charities. I hope he can find an alternative but for now, Mark Lawrence should not be held to the same accountability as major retailers or corporations that are far more responsible for causing harm to our environment.
We can also thank Mark for drawing attention to our farce of solid waste treatment and recycling in Mashpee.
And who knew banning plastic straws could pose a risk to disabled populations? A reduction in plastic straws would have a huge impact on the environment but no one wants to see more hurdles for people with disabilities.
In a perfect world people will do the right thing and our recycling wouldn’t depend on whether we offend China’s sensibilities, but this isn’t a perfect world, so we need to provide regulation/incentive for compliance to practices that will prevent further damage to the world we live in.
Let’s give some thought to how we apply banning materials harmful to the environment to assure we aren’t putting well-meaning people at a disadvantage.
Paula D. Peters