Debate over biodegradable additives vs. recycling boils over in Mexico

By Stephen Downer
Correspondent

Published: April 25, 2013 12:53 pm ET
Updated: April 26, 2013 12:34 pm ET

Image By: Plastics News Eduardo de la Tijera Coeto

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Public Policy, Sustainability, Government & Legislation

MEXICO CITY — A sometimes acrimonious relationship between the biodegrading and recycling lobbies in Mexico has boiled over into a bitter public war of words, in an open letter emailed to plastics industry executives.

The letter's publisher, consultant Eduardo de la Tijera Coeto, wrote on April 9 that he was "tired of receiving invitations" to meet with suppliers of biodegrading additives who wanted to demonstrate to him what he called the "undemonstrable."

Their aim, he said, was to persuade him that it would be beneficial to the plastics industry to add biodegrading substances to resins to "avoid the introduction of regulations, plastics substitution and taxes."

"In days gone by these gentlemen would show legislators bundles of photocopies of studies done in English… to convince them to regulate bags in favor of their additives. Now they are more refined. The antepenultimate [tactic] was that of the representative of an oxy-biodegradable material who described as compostable the bags containing his [company's] additives in a [failed] attempt to influence an environmental norm in Mexico City."

"What's difficult for me to understand," added De la Tijera, "is that friends of mine, or at least people I consider friends, and I don't know whether they'll still consider me their friend after they've read this Letter to the Industrialist, continue to mislead plastic processors and users with 'green' promises that they never keep."

"I hope the reason for this is ... that they fervently believe in degradation and there's nothing that can convince them otherwise," he said.

De la Tijera, president and CEO of Grupo Texne in Mexico City, said at the top of the letter that he had replied to the most recent invitation jocularly. But Germán Suárez Villamil, president of Grupo Plásticos Nova SA de CV, of Mexico City, the exclusive distributor of Albuquerque-based Bio-Tec Environmental LLC's EcoPure additives in Mexico, did not see the funny side.

"It's very easy for Señor De la Tijera to insult and destroy, but technology is advancing and our group of companies has no interest in seeing a law that would oblige anybody to use x or z additive," he wrote in response.

"Being in favor of sustainability and ecologically minded, being responsible with regard to one's surroundings is a civic duty and does not force the hand of anybody, whether you're convinced about it or not.

"We have never been involved in matters mentioned by you with politicians or associations, seeking their favors. Neither are we interested in your comment, which is barely credible among people in the industry who know you.

"You use language to confuse and to protect your personal interests. You have no right to distort data or to disparage specialists and doctors in science and technology. Who do you think you are?

"The great plastics industry does not deserve this. We the industrialists and company directors who have created jobs and processed millions of kilos [of resins] know what this means. You should respect every industrialist and, I repeat, the plastics industry is much more than a single type of packaging…

"I repeat that I'm not interested in your characterizations or ideas. Be professional and not a mercenary."

Jaime Cámara Creixell, managing director of Petstar SA de CV, of Mexico City, Latin America's largest PET recycler, pointed out in a subsequent letter published by De la Tijera, that Suárez and other distributors should "have the courage to acknowledge the incompatibility between plastic biodegrading and recycling."

He urged companies interested in sustainability and whose products contain biodegrading materials to add a label reading "This product is degradable and therefore is NOT compatible with recycling" to their packaging

By doing this, Cámara wrote, "the very large and very valuable flow of recyclable plastic materials will not be contaminated."

Suárez was an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency of Mexico's Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico AC (Anipac) in 2012. De la Tijera was Anipac's president for two years, from the spring of 2006.


Comments

Debate over biodegradable additives vs. recycling boils over in Mexico

By Stephen Downer
Correspondent

Published: April 25, 2013 12:53 pm ET
Updated: April 26, 2013 12:34 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Ineos closing Barex plant, exiting business

October 29, 2014 3:58 pm ET

Materials maker Ineos Group is closing its only global Barex-brand polyacrylonitrile (PAN) resin plant in Lima, Ohio. Ineos – based in Rolle,...    More

Image

DSM picks Augusta, Ga., for nylon plant

October 29, 2014 11:49 am ET

Materials firm Royal DSM NV has chosen Augusta, Ga., as the site of its new North American nylon resin plant.    More

Image

Teknor Apex expands production of recycled nylon to Europe

October 29, 2014 10:12 am ET

Materials firm Teknor Apex Co. is making its recycled nylon compounds available in Europe for the first time.    More

Image

Unplanned disruption in Texas hits Huntsman's quarterly earnings

October 29, 2014 9:30 am ET

Huntsman Corp. saw its earnings drop in the third quarter of 2014, due in part to an unplanned disruption at its Port Neches, Texas, plant.    More

Image

Majority of China's future polyolefin capacity will come from coal

October 28, 2014 3:45 pm ET

China's polyolefin suppliers are shifting from using oil to coal or natural gas as their feedstock, according to experts at the FlexPO conference, hel...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events