Support Sustainable To-Go Packaging in St. Paul

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The City of St. Paul currently does not require restaurants and other retail food establishments to utilize sustainable to-go packaging.  As a result, a large portion of the waste in our waste stream is made up of non-recyclable items that once briefly contained food items for immediate consumption.  These items, mostly plastics, have negative effects on our environment (particularly our waterways) and contribute to environmental degradation of our community and beyond.  Minneapolis and St. Louis Park both recently adopted "to-go" food packaging ordinances, and we urge St. Paul to do the same.

St. Paul's City Council voted on a Sustainable To-Go-Packaging Ordinance (see link for more details) in October 2017, and although there were hundreds of community members who supported the change, it did not pass.  It will be up for a final vote with a new hearing on Wednesday, March 6th from 5:30-7:30pm.  In an effort to support environmental sustainability, we urge the city to approve of the proposed changes to St. Paul Code of Ordinances Chapter 236 and require the use of compostable, reusable, or recyclable food packaging. 


  • "Amend the current ordinance to apply only to food packaging intended for immediate consumption. Provide 1 year between Council adoption and effective date of ordinance. (See Current Draft.)
  • Require the use of compostable, reusable or recyclable food packaging except in cases where there are no commercially available alternatives. The following factors will be used in determining if there are any commercially available alternatives:
    Availability, Economic consequences, Competitive effects, Regional context (Items for which there are no commercially available alternatives would be considered an “exemption” to the requirement).
  • Establish list of “exemptions” and process for annual review of “exemptions” at time of ordinance adoption.
  • Tie the initiative to existing programs:
    o Recyclable or compostable will be defined by City’s residential recycling contacts. (This effort will not entail amending the contract.)
    o Ramsey County BizRecycling program
  • Conduct business outreach and resource fairs during the proposed 1 year implementation period." Source:

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We need your help!  In order to pass this we need:

  • Residents to call their Council Member and voice their support!  Not sure who your City Council Member is?  Find your Ward and Council Member here:    
  • Businesses who have successfully switched to compostable serviceware to let their voice be heard!  Does your favorite restaurant use compostable items?  Thank them and ask them to reach out to their Council Member too!
  • Businesses who have NOT switched to compostable serviceware to understand the financial and environmental benefits of switching.  There are grants available to businesses to help with the transition, and they can save on their trash bill as recycled items (both regular recycling and organics) are not taxed!  More information can be found here: 
  • To share this petition widely!  We can't do it with YOU!