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Talks continue around Canandaigua plastic ban

March 19, 2019 11:32 PM

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WHEC) -- On Tuesday, the City of Canandaigua talked one on one to business leaders about a potential ban on single-use plastics.

Straws, plastic bags, and plastic utensils are all on the chopping block for the city as it tries to reduce their landfill footprint.

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Pactiv, one of the world's largest food packaging manufacturers and one of Ontario County's largest employers, has more than 1,600 big customers as clients including McDonald's, Tim Horton's and Kraft.

Terry Lafferty, the company's plant manager, says the ban wouldn't impact sales since their product doesn't hit local shelves directly but worries it'll impact their branding.

"Being one of your largest employers and inside of the city where they are trying to actually ban the use of the product we make, it obviously puts me at somewhat of a disadvantage to obviously entice or encourage people to come work there," said Lafferty.

Wegmans representatives tell city leaders their biggest concern would be with plastic utensils getting banned, since to-go food is a big portion of their business.

"We would have to contemplate what to switch to if there wasn't plastic cutlery and our plastic cutlery is made from 30 percent plant-based as well," said Jason Wadsworth, manager of Wegmans Packaging and Sustainability.

The topic is not unique to Canandaigua. New York, Maine, Washington and Oregon are all looking at statewide bans of plastic bags to reduce plastic pollution.

"We are such a consumer society," said Councilmember David Whitcomb, who introduced the legislation. "Much of that waste is in plastics."

In January of last year, China stopped importing the world's recyclables.

The move bottlenecked recycling efforts in the US resulting in steeper collection bills. The move forced municipalities to end programs, burn the plastics or just toss them.

"Everything we put in the landfill costs our municipality money. Anything we can do to reduce that is a good thing," said Whitcomb.

City leaders plan to have further discussions with more business leaders about the plastic ban before making any final decisions.

Final decisions could include a partial ban or just educational initiatives.

News10NBC asked viewers what they thought about a plastic ban, and here is what you told us.

Credits

Beth Cefalu

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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