A fight over Styrofoam is brewing in Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) – A proposal to ban Styrofoam is causing controversy in the city of Pittsfield.

Styrofoam is used as insulation, can be used to make boogie boards, and is a common material used to hold food and drink. The Pittsfield City Council will vote next week whether or not to ban the product, and it’s causing a stir.

Some local businesses said Styrofoam is cheap and getting rid of it adds cost. Others said dropping Styrofoam makes the city more environmentally friendly.

Dean DiMassimo of Teo’s Hotdogs Restaurant said it’s the hotdogs that has kept people coming back to his family’s restaurant for more than 30 years.

“People come from all over to get our hotdogs,” he said. “People come home for the holidays. It’s their first stop.”

But running a small business isn’t easy, and DiMassimo said finding an alternative to Styrofoam wouldn’t be easy, either.

“I believe Styrofoam keeps cold products cold and hot products hot, so it’s better going out the door that way than with paper,” he said. “There’s also a financial cost. Styrofoam is cheaper.”

Guido’s Fresh Marketplace is another family owned business in Pittsfield. It supports the ban and has already taken steps to become more environmentally friendly like eliminating most plastic shopping bags.

“I think everyone that lives in Berkshire County really values the beautiful environment, the beautiful natural place that we get to enjoy,” Dawn Masiero said. “It’s something that just makes a lot of sense.”

Still, DiMassimo said being in the food industry is hard enough as it is without the extra expense.

“Restaurants are a lot of work,” he said. “We’re open a lot of hours, and we just try to do the best we can.”

But one of his regulars said steeper prices won’t stop him from getting his hotdog fix.

“I’d say most of the customers would be happy to absorb it,” customer Tom Cahallan said.

The vote will take place next Tuesday at Pittsfield City Hall.

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