Restaurant takeout packaging changes in time for Earth Day

New rules on environmentally acceptable food packaging take effect in Minneapolis on Earth Day, April 22. The ordinance requires food and beverages prepared for immediate consumption or for takeout be placed in reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging. The rules cover things like plates, serving boats and to-go containers. (Cups and bowls may be made of plastic-lined paper, which is not recyclable or compostable, until April 22, 2017.)

The rules apply to all food establishments that sell or give away food prepared onsite for immediate consumption. This includes all restaurants; grocery store deli cases; food trucks and other mobile vendors; and temporary, short-term and seasonal food vendors.

Recyclable materials used onsite must be recycled, and compostable materials used onsite must be composted.

What do consumers need to know?

Consumers must scrape food off recyclable packaging before they put it in the recycling, or it will be treated as garbage and not recycled.

Businesses aren’t being asked to throw away unused noncompliant packaging they already have; they are allowed to use it up since it will end up in the trash either way. If you notice that your favorite restaurant isn’t using compliant packaging, talk to the manager or call 311 so the City can follow up.

City staff is working with businesses to help them make the switch, and Hennepin County has resources such as:

·                     Business grants up to $50,000 to assist with:

o   Starting or improving recycling and organics programs.

o   Bin and equipment purchases.

o   Installation.

o   Improvements to loading docks and fenced in areas for waste containers.

·                     Free:

o   Bin setup, labels and signs.

o   Educational and promotional materials.

o   Cost savings estimates.

Consumers may notice the slogan “green to go” used around town in reference to this ordinance. For more information visit www.minneapolismn.gov/greentogo.

 

Published Apr 21, 2015

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