Styrofoam containers have officially been banned in Minneapolis -- again. The law -- actually a re-updated version of a Styrofoam ban that passed two decades ago but was never enforced -- will take effect on Earth Day, April 22, of next year.
The renewed ban on the non-recyclable, non-reusable, and non-compostable containers was proposed by Andrew Johnson and passed unanimously in City Council on Friday. Fines for breaking the law, however, have been lowered.
"Essentially, we're going to start enforcing this, and it's now improved," Johnson told the Star Tribune. "We're rebanning it."
It's estimated that 10 million Styrofoam containers are thrown away in Minnesota each year. Styrofoam is not impossible to recycle, but is difficult to clean and far costlier to recycle than other, more sustainable containers. Styrofoam also contains potentially cancer-causing chemicals that leach into food, especially when heated.
City health inspectors will be more diligently seeking out restaurants that continue to use Styrofoam after the ban is enforced, and violators will be subjected to fines. Customers can also call 311 to report any restaurants that continue to use Styrofoam after the ban goes into effect next April.The updated bill will allow restaurants to use compostable containers, instead of just recyclable or reusable containers, and restaurants will be required to provide recycling and compost bins.