Mexico boosts estimate for plastics industry growth to 9 percent

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MEXICO CITY (Nov. 28, 1 p.m. ET) — Mexico’s plastics industry association has revised upward its 2011 growth estimate for the sector.

In early October it was talking about a possible growth of 6 percent. Now it says 9 percent is likely, notwithstanding a deceleration in the national economy in recent months.

Eduardo Martínez Hernández, president of the Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico AC (Anipac), also believes the sector’s growth will probably hit double figures in 2012, despite it being a presidential election year, when investment generally slows.

“The industry will grow 9 percent this year, despite the fact that in the past four months it has suffered a slowdown because of the difficult economic climate,” Martínez said in an Anipac news release.

The release coincided with the association’s annual convention in Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, held over the four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the United States, a subtle admission that Mexico’s economy is closely tied to that of the U.S.

Martínez said 4,200 processors, 96 percent of whom are micro, small or medium-sized businesses, processed 6 million metric tons of plastic for the domestic market, representing $20 billion in sales, during the year.

The most lucrative business was in the automotive, construction, services, pharmaceutical and packaging segments. Processors invested $1.8 billion in machinery purchases and added 15,000 jobs to the employee roster of 150,000 in 2010, he said.

Martínez urged Mexico’s federal, state and municipal governments not to waiver in their recycling efforts and claimed 17 percent of all rubbish collected across the country had been recycled in recent months, an increase of two percentage points.

“In Mexico 3.8 million tonnes of plastic garbage is discarded every year… but only 1.3 million tonnes of it is recycled,” he said.

According to Martínez, in Mexico City alone 950 metric tons of plastic garbage a day is not recycled. He called on the capital’s government to invest in more recycling plants.

“A culture of garbage separation should be taken for granted by Mexican society but we’re getting there gradually.”

In 2011, Anipac, which has 300 member companies, persuaded Mexico City lawmakers to reverse anti-plastic bag legislation and to embrace recycling.