Andrew Johnson's ordinance would ban Styrofoam containers in Mpls

AndrewJohnson.jpg
Andrew Johnson
Did you know Minneapolis already has an ordinance on the books banning Styrofoam containers? Before he successfully ran for City Council last year, neither did Andrew Johnson.

"When I was campaigning I would come back late at night and go through city ordinances because when I had worked with the Longfellow Community Council, a lot of small businesses felt there was a lot of red tape," Johnson tells us. "And so, I was going through these ordinances and I found this one on environmentally sustainable containers, and I thought, does this mean Styrofoam is banned?"

See also:
Meg Tuthill wants to ban plastic bags in Minneapolis

Turns out the answer is yes. City officials simply haven't been enforcing an ordinance that's been around since 1990, Johnson says.

But next week, the first-term City Council member from Minneapolis's most southeastern ward will introduce a new anti-Styrofoam ordinance. This time, he expects it to stick.
styrofoamContainer.JPG
Johnson has declared war on containers of this sort.

Johnson's ordinance would ban businesses from giving customers to-go Styrofoam containers, and would require all food or beverage containers to either be recyclable or compostable.

Most everyone knows about the environmental problems posed by Styrofoam. But Johnson says public health concerns also motivate his proposal.

"When there's food or hot beverages in a Styrofoam container, styrene leeches out of it," Johnson says. "It's considered to be a presumable human carcinogen and neurotoxin."

Johnson also addressed concerns some have expressed about his ordinance, including costs to businesses and overregulation.

Regarding costs, Johnson cited the impact of a similar ordinance in San Francisco, which is one of more than 100 American cities that have already banned Styrofoam containers.

"When San Francisco implemented this, more than 3,000 businesses were affected but not a single one filed a financial hardship report," Johnson says. "Yes, it does cost a little more, but as more businesses switch over it drives down the price as well."

Johnson got theoretical when asked to address worries his proposal takes us a step further down the road toward a nanny state.

(For more, click to page two.)



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165 comments
TheConservativeJerk
TheConservativeJerk topcommenter

95% of all Styrofoam that ends up in Minneapolis' trash is not from food containers, it is from packing materials.  This is simply a measure designed to hurt your hot food suppliers and eventually drive up cost for you the consumer.

Liberal logic, it's really that shallow...

senatortombstone
senatortombstone

Styrofoam, as all matter is, is destined to become electrons and radiation. It is not worth worrying about, during our infinitesimally short lives.

jherlitz
jherlitz

Too bad this assclown doesn't spend some time worrying about violent crime in his city. And before I hear some chump cite crime stats, I work at the biggest county jail in this state and the population is not going down. Councilperson Johnson needs to concern himself with real issues and stop worrying about styrofoam.

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

Man this Johnson guy is a real tool box!

John Overly
John Overly

Happened a long time ago here in Portland. Don't miss it.

Julie Young-Garayt
Julie Young-Garayt

This kind of regulation only improves our earth and our health. It really has nil effect on personal freedom. Really am I less free using a paper sack vs styro? Businesses have to change but they are so under regulated in the free market mentality it is laughable. Society is always a balancing act between freedom and regulation. No society gives absolute freedom. Thoughtful legislation weighing the benefits and negatives needs to be the way to assess change.

Hell Ga
Hell Ga

i hate Styrofoam. thank u!

Nathan Heiling
Nathan Heiling

It's takes a lot more energy to make the paper containers than Styrofoam.

Bruce Kallenbach
Bruce Kallenbach

I agree! Get rid of these toxic containers! When I get soda at Circle K, it has to be a plastic cup not Styrofoam!

Michael Thrush
Michael Thrush

Give me a fucking break! How many styrofoam containers killed someone today or cheated the public? Hmmm... Illusion of progress... Why don't they pass a law for frivolously wasting tax payers' money.

Holly Schwichtenberg
Holly Schwichtenberg

@David: I agree with the thought that forcing a ban is orwellian. However, it's not as if styrofoam does anything good for the planet. I understand there are fiscal and economic impacts of banning it, but no one will have a job if we don't have a planet to live on. I do like your progressive idea of making alternatives more appealing.

Stefanie Megan Brown
Stefanie Megan Brown

Ban them. We gotta stop looking at short term profit maximizing in the name of "jobs"......create the demand for sustainable options by investing in cardboards and plastics. And for God's sake can we legalize hemp already?!

Matt Connell
Matt Connell

I can't stand how much trash and litter there is. People are so gross.

Dave Salmonson
Dave Salmonson

Nathan is correct. People only make the styrofoam, and that is the only thing that they can make. Elves make shoes, fairies make dresses, who makes the biodegradable food containers? We need to contact their union. We also need to see if their factory needs to be retooled for this operation.

Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner

Dave Salmonson. I agree. Our landfills would be reduced significantly if hemp was used in many products.

Jennifer Dahn
Jennifer Dahn

I would like to see far less plastic bags floating around. They seem to have even more of a harmful impact On the environment. I'd also like to see some hemp products put to good use but they seem to terrify the govt. Big scary hemp I mean. As a libertarian though, i just can't go around advocating for bans or regulations. I'd be a hypocrite. It would just be nice to see companies make more environmently friendly decisions on their own.

Julie S. Johnson
Julie S. Johnson

Responsible. We have some good minds in this country. Someone will devise something better, and more earth-friendly than this crap.

Nathan Heiling
Nathan Heiling

And does no one seems to remember that making those containers is someone('s) job such an ordinance could very well cost jobs

Ray Gilman
Ray Gilman

Most people blindly elect people because of party affiliation and then are surprised at what they do. It's simple if you don't like styrofoam don't buy it speak with your wallet .

David Cole
David Cole

It'd be interesting to get the perspective of small business owners as much as anyone else. Do you run a business? If so, what do you sell and what issues do you encounter?

Jan Hautala
Jan Hautala

I don't have a self esteem problem. I said her opinion has no effect on me. Verbal abuse by two people! My self esteem can stand up to your bullying too. Her assumption that I need educating when she has no idea about me shows you are more interested in in bullying, and verbal put downs than addressing environmental issues. As I said, I don't have a self esteem problem, it's great. Your put downs have no impact on me. You are more interested in using the classic tactic of verbal put downs to distract from the issue, when you can't back up your argument. I do not pollute the ground water with lawn chemicals I use natural cooperative planting. I don't use styrofoam. I rescue abused animals. I'm in a wheelchair. I knit 400 hats for the homeless. I used newspaper as a weed barrier. An old tackle box is an herb garden. I spend 4 hours a day talking to the sick and dying. So, my self esteem and environmental education is on firm ground. But it it makes you feel better I can call you a big poopy head and say oh, I can't think of anything mean that's your area. ;)

David Cole
David Cole

And the world - pollution isn't going to obey city, state, or national border lines.

David Cole
David Cole

Wow. Thank you for making and posting that! What a dump. :( People choosing to litter and wrecking things for everyone else... it's sad. Why can't people make the effort to find a garbage can, either in a park or when they get home instead of flinging it out the car?

David Cole
David Cole

Or not even ban; just make the alternatives more palatable. People think the issue is free choice - which it might be, but when people think of "by force" they tend to think of a stick instead of a carrot...

David Cole
David Cole

Apply that mindset to every condition in life and living. Note where it makes sense for some but not for others. What are the common denominators, in both cases?

David Cole
David Cole

That depends on the severity of the issue, though you raise good points. Without a viable ecology, nobody will have any will - free or otherwise - to do much of anything...

David Cole
David Cole

If we hurt others, is that freedom? What happens if we choose to hurt others? As a free people, what do we do? We are affected by choice all the time, which effectively makes us all not entirely free-willed. It's a matter of perspective. And relative to size. You may litter but if a thousand million littered, you might not like it then.

Kirk Kjenaas
Kirk Kjenaas

How about making other options affordable

Rick Meyer
Rick Meyer

No,not "bullying", that was an honest attempt at getting you to educate yourself. Your self esteem problem is up to you.

senatortombstone
senatortombstone

If businesses choose plastic and styrofoam over paper, it is probably because it is cheaper for them to do so.

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

Frivolous to you maybe, but not to most of the posters on here. Can we just store them in your yard for the next 500 years or so until they finally decompose? 

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