Missouri lawmaker wants to ban local rules for food packaging

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri state legislator needs to preclude neighborhood governments from banning food and drink packaging amid a push by environmentalists to decrease the utilization of single-use plastics.

State Rep. Dan Shaul, an Imperial Republican and director of the Missouri Grocers Association, filed legislation that would preclude bans, restrictions or different regulations on bottles, cups, bags, containers and other food and drink packaging, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch announced . The limits would cover containers made of plastic, aluminum, cardboard and a variety of other materials.

Businesses could still opt to utilize more environmentally friendly to-go wrappings and other packaging for food and drinks under Shaul’s bill. In any case, the legislator said the move sustainable packaging should be consumer-driven and not dictated by local governments.

The bill “will not impede a business from making a decision that’s in their best interest or meets their business model,” Shaul said. “We think it should be their decision.”

The legislation is up for consideration when legislators come back to the Capitol for their next session starting Jan. 9.

Shaul’s efforts come amid a push by environmentalists around the world to eliminate single-use plastics that can pollute waterways and end up in the food chain, however the newspaper reported that the effect on human health is unclear.

Former Republican city councilwoman Laura Nauser opposed Columbia’s proposed limits on plastic bags in 2015, however she additionally opposes state pre-emption.

“Let the local council make the decision, and if it turns out to be a bad one, it’s a lot easier to reverse it at the local level than it would be if there was a problem — or a poor law — (that needed to be) reversed at the state or federal level,” she said.

Eliza Coriell, co-owner of the Crow’s Nest in the St. Louis suburb of Maplewood, said he’s open to restrictions on foam containers because she said there are cheap, biodegradable substitutes. But she said her restaurant uses plastic bags for to-go orders, and because they’re recyclable she’s not sure if a broader rule against them is needed.

“I’m not opposed to municipalities having the ability to ban certain things,” Coriell said. “And whether or not I would support (state) legislation one way or the other would depend on which things they (cities) were trying to ban.”

The Crow’s Nest has chosen its very own to give straws to clients upon demand rather than automatically placing them in all drinks.

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