St. Paul, MN considers ban on to-go food containers that aren't recyclable
- The St. Paul, MN City Council will host a public hearing Wednesday as they consider legislation that would prohibit businesses from offering take-out containers or to-go cups that aren't "readily" recyclable or compostable, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.
- The bill provides exemptions for businesses facing financial hardship or if businesses are unable to find affordable alternatives for take-out containers. Some businesses in the region have already saved money by switching to compostable products. Ramsey County, where St. Paul is located, places a high tax on trash hauling, but not on compost collection.
- If the legislation passes, businesses will have one year to make the mandated changes. Hospitals and nursing homes would be exempt under the current language in the bill.
If the proposed legislation passes, St. Paul would join the ranks of New York, Seattle and Los Angeles as jurisdictions that are moving forward on banning the sale of some food and beverage containers. While Seattle businesses are voluntarily adapting to legislation a year before it goes into effect, NYC is facing lawsuits from the local restaurant and packaging industries — signaling the importance of including all relevant stakeholders when considering a materials ban or partial materials ban in a city.
Which, to its credit, the St. Paul City Council seems to be doing. According to the Pioneer Press, council members have heard concerns from The Foodservice Packaging Institute, the Plastics Foodservice Packaging Group and the Minnesota Hmong Chamber of Commerce, as well as supportive comments from TakeAction Minnesota and Eureka Recycling.
Some in St. Paul are saying that the legislation is coming at a bad time, as there are other measures impacting businesses currently taking effect. Large businesses are dealing with the implementation of a paid sick leave policy that will effect small businesses starting in 2018, and labor advocates in the city are calling for an increase to the minimum wage, for example. Based on what appears to be split support for the measure among St. Paul City Council members, whether or not the bill moves forward may depend on the feedback at Wednesday's public hearing.
- Twin Cities Pioneer Press Should St. Paul ban to-go food and drink containers that can’t be recycled?
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