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Clover Leaf Creamery Co. v. State

Citation: 9 ELR 20739
No. No. 48827, 289 N.W.2d 79/13 ERC 1682/(Minn., 09/07/1979)

The Minnesota Supreme Court affirms the judgment of the trial court declaring unconstitutional a state statute prohibiting the sale of milk and certain milk products in plastic containers. The court finds that the statute, which is intended to encourage the use of recycled materials and to reduce the amount of material entering the solid waste stream, does not rationally further those purposes. The trial record establishes that plastic containers are preferable to paper containers from the standpoint of solid waste management. Unlike paper containers, plastic containers are recyclable, they are more easily incinerated than paper, and they improve the stability of landfills because they do not decompose. There is thus no rational justification for this discriminatory prohibition, and it must be struck down under the Equal Protection Clause of the federal Constitution.

Counsel for Appellants
Warren Spannaus, Attorney General; Byron E. Starns, Chief Deputy Attorney General; Kenneth E. Raschke, Ass't Attorney General
102 State Capitol, St. Paul MN 55155
(612) 296-2591

Counsel for Respondents
Leonard J. Keyes, Douglas L. Skor, Andrea M. Bond
Briggs & Morgan
2200 1st Nat'l Bank Bldg., St. Paul MN 55101
(612) 291-1215

Counsel for Amicus Curiae Minnesota Public Interest Research Group
James D. Miller
3036 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis MN 55414
(612) 376-7554

Peterson, J. (joined by Marsden, J.; Wahl, J., dissents in separate opinion.)