October 11, 2017 10:53 PM
The St. Paul City Council rejected a proposed ordinance that would have banned plastic and Styrofoam food containers at restaurants and convenience stores.
In a 5-2 vote, the council voted against adopting a ban similar to ordinances in Minneapolis and St. Louis Park.
St. Paul City Council member Russ Stark says it's a missed opportunity to protect the environment.
"Similar ordinances have been very successful in Minneapolis, St. Louis Park and cities around the country," Stark said. "I think we've got fairly aggressive goals around recycling and ultimately composting in the city that this potential policy change was going to be an important, but modest, part of."
The ordinance was strongly opposed by St. Paul's restaurant industry because restaurant owners thought their businesses were unfairly targeted. The ban would not have included hospitals, nursing homes or "big box" retailers.
"There seems to be a big disconnect of recent with what goes on at city hall and the restaurant industry," said Pat Mancini of Mancini's Char House. "I don't know that we have a proper voice down there anymore. I'm really concerned that our industry, I don't know, is targeted, but is an easy target for this kind of legislation."
Mancini says restaurant owners, most of which are small businesses, are already struggling to pay for paid sick time regulations, higher property taxes and rising minimum wages.
Although the ordinance didn't pass, all five members who voted against it later voted in favor of a motion to reconsider the ban one year from now.
Updated: October 11, 2017 10:53 PM
Created: October 11, 2017 07:44 PM
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