Minneapolis City Council approves polystyrene ban

Polystyrene, in both the foam and number 6 hard versions, will be banned from use by food and beverage vendors in Minneapolis beginning April 22, 2015, following a unanimous vote of the Minneapolis City Council.

The ban on use of polystyrene is part of an overhaul of the recycling ordinance. It will apply to all food and beverage sales, including food trucks, temporary vendors at events and the sale of hot food at grocery stores.

The changes also allow for composting containers at food sales establishments. The composting containers are currently banned.

“I have a lot of bars and restaurants in my ward,” said Council Member Jacob Frey, who represents the North Loop and Northeast Minneapolis. Frey amended the recycling overhaul to allow continued use of polystyrene if no “reasonable alternative” exists.

The Minneapolis recycling rules go into effect eight months before a state-mandated recycling update begins in January of 2016. The rules require commercial buildings in the seven-county metro area to recycle three or more material groups.

“We saw some benefit to having the two changes come in at the same time,” said Dan McElroy of the Minnesota Restaurant Association, “but the Council would like to have, particularly the compostable provision, come earlier. We can make this work.”

The new rules also change the penalty for those in violation from a misdemeanor to an administrative citation. The fine for an administrative citation for violation of the recycling ordinance has not yet been determined.

The new ordinance does not eliminate the use of polystyrene stirring sticks, straws, knives, forks and spoons, but they will not be accepted for recycling.

Liquor store vote delayed

The Council had been scheduled to vote on a proposed liquor store to be located at the intersection of Marshall and Broadway in Northeast Minneapolis but the item was returned to the Zoning and Planning Committee which will, in turn, be sending it back to Public Works for reconsideration of the tree planning requirements. The current proposal calls for trees to be planted on the boulevard. 

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