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Some officials worried about unintended consequences of expanded plastics ban in Canandaigua

Should Canandaigua City Council enact a ban on single-use plastic items, the Canandaigua school district will have to hire more people.

Superintendent Jamie Farr — who along with Ontario County and town of Canandaigua officials on Tuesday addressed Council’s ordinance committee about the impact of this legislation — said at least four cafeteria workers would need to be hired for each of the school kitchens.

Dishwashers also would be on the shopping list.

The district, however, is having difficulty hiring cafeteria workers as it is, with posted job openings drawing little to no applicants, forcing the district to pay overtime now to get the job done, Farr said.

“We’re afraid we will struggle to do that,” Farr said.

This was the second “listening” session of stakeholders who city officials believe would be most affected by legislation. Representatives from Wegmans and Pactiv shared concerns with legislation and unintended consequences of it, as well as outlining ways each is moving toward more Earth-friendly practices.

The city’s draft legislation would prohibit businesses, entities, commercial establishments or individuals — with some exemptions — that sell food, beverages, groceries or other personal or household items for sale in the city from providing single-use plastic products such as straws, carryout bags and polystyrene cups, containers or trays.

The impetus behind the proposed legislation is reducing waste headed to the Ontario County landfill, which is scheduled to close in 2028, and lessening pollution.

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