St. Paul Mulls Ban On Styrofoam Takeout Containers

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — To-go orders could soon have a different look in St. Paul.

The city council is a vote away from banning Styrofoam and black plastic takeout containers.

Councilmember Russ Stark is behind the proposal.

“We are trying to recycle and compost more of our waste stream in general in St. Paul,” Stark said. “We have an effort dating back several years of really increasing the percentage of our waste that’s not going to landfills and incinerators.”

Russ Stark’s proposal would mean Styrofoam and black plastics will be phased out of restaurants. More costly biodegradable and recyclable containers would be required instead.

John Mancini’s family has owned a St. Paul Char House since 1948.

john mancini and greg galles2 St. Paul Mulls Ban On Styrofoam Takeout Containers

John Mancini and Greg Galles (credit: CBS)

“I’m all for recycling, but I don’t understand why we have to abide by it but nobody else in the city does,” Mancini said.

He believes restaurants are being singled out, and so does his pal, Greg Galles, owner of Grand Ole Creamery and Pizza.

“It seems like that the restaurants are the only people they’re picking on,” Galles said.

Between discussion of a $15 minimum wage and costs for earth-friendly to-go containers, they say enough is enough — and raising prices could cause them to lose customers to surrounding areas.

Councilmember Stark says if restaurants start composting some of their food, they can compensate for the higher-priced to-go products.

“We believe this will be a positive once it’s in place, and the benefits are real to the environment and human health, and that’s why we’re doing it,” Stark said.

Divided over to-go containers, they are all united in wanting restaurants to thrive.

“We want to make St. Paul better,” Mancini said.

Galles and Mancini say they would be on board if it was a statewide ordinance and everyone had to raise their prices.

The ordinance could go to a final vote as soon as next week.

Minneapolis and St. Louis Park have similar ordinances.

More from Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
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