St. Paul city council passes to-go container ordinance

By Jan. 2021, restaurants will have to use sustainable takeout containers

March 19, 2019

The St. Paul City Council votes to 5-2 becoming the latest municipality to get behind a so-called "Green to Go" ordinance...

A ban on black plastic take-out containers will go into effect in January 2021. St. Paul joins Minneapolis, St. Louis Park and others around the country to require more environmentally friendly containers that are compostable or easily recyclable.

Opponents at a public hearing before the vote at the city council chambers inside city hall Wednesday evening argued that the price differences between styrofoam and the new containers are significant and that it's not fair that it doesn't apply to large chain stores and hospitals. Pat Mancini of Mancini's say he's made changes at his restaurant, but doesn't agree with the ordinance.

"If you're going to go green, get it right," he said. "Get it right the first time.

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Supporters, including some restaurant owners, say it's an important step for the environment.

"I want to open multiple locations. I want to franchise," Mama's Kitchen owner Wintana Melekin said. "I have large goals, but I don't want to do that at the cost of my neighbors, my environment."

City officials say there are grants available to help businesses transition. They also pointed out that tax code favors composting and recycling and can help businesses recoup the costs.