Environment Minnesota is knocking on doors across the state to take on the waste that’s killing our wildlife

Media Contacts
Timothy Schaefer

Environment Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minn. — Environment Minnesota is deploying hundreds of door-knockers this summer across the state to help educate Minnesotans about the plastic waste that is killing our wildlife.

“Nothing that we use for a couple of minutes should pollute our rivers and lakes for centuries,” said Tim Schaefer, director of Environment Minnesota.

Polystyrene — the stuff we call styrofoam — is one of the worst kinds of plastic waste, often used for cups and food containers. Americans throw away an estimated 70 million polystyrene cups every day. About a third of that plastic waste ends up in our rivers, lakes and oceans. Plastics don’t biodegrade, which means they remain intact or break down into smaller pieces. Plastic fragments have been found ingested by literally hundreds of species, including 86 percent of all sea turtles and almost half of all seabird and marine mammal species.

Across the country, plastic foam bans have passed in more than 200 cities and other communities, from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. Here in Minnesota, St. Louis Park and Minneapolis both have passed bans on polystyrene to-go containers.

Some companies are also leading the way. By the end of this year, McDonald’s will phase out foam cups and containers worldwide, in favor of 100 percent recycled materials.

Environment Minnesota is advocating for a state-wide ban on polystyrene containers from restaurants to help protect our waterways and our wildlife. At the same time, we’re working to push back against a bill in the Legislature that would preempt local plastic bans, which would effectively prevent cities and towns from setting reasonable restrictions on unnecessary waste.