Mexico's plastic industry has launched a counterattack against its detractors, including lawmakers who voted in March to ban the use of non-degradable plastic bags in Mexico City stores.
In the Federal District that encompasses the capital, store owners will face heavy fines and prison if they fail to replace polyethylene T-shirt bags and those available in rolls with bags made from degradable materials by 2010.
The industry fears that if the capital's ban is allowed to stand, officials in the other 31 Mexican states will follow, banning bags and other type of plastic packaging.
In a statement e-mailed to members Oct. 19, the national industry association Anipac (Asociacón Nacional de Industrias del Plastico AC) announced that it would launch a public relations campaign aimed at getting the Mexico City law modified.
The campaign began Oct. 21 and runs through Jan. 16.
Anipac said that recycling would solve all the problems caused by discarded plastic bags. The association added that only 1 percent of the 430,000 tons of plastic bags produced in Mexico annually is recycled, and Anipac criticized authorities for not enforcing laws on garbage separation.
Guillermo Salas, Anipac's president, said that Teknopellets SA de CV which claims to be Mexico's largest recycler of post-consumer and post-industrial low density polyethylene is importing waste material from Guat-emala because there are insufficient supplies available in Mex- ico.
It's incredible that a small country like Guatemala separates its rubbish and we in Mexico don't, Salas said.
Anipac is preparing a proposal for Mexico's environment and natural resources ministry that would result in hundreds of thousands of garbage collectors being incorporated into a national gar-bage separation initiative.
According to Alfredo LÃ³pez Machorro, Anipac's managing director, the city of San Luis Potosí which has a metropolitan area population of about 958,000 is the only large city in the country where household garbage collection is done by a private contractor and where, consequently, garbage is separated into recyclable items and non-recyclables.
According to Anipac, the plastic industry in Mexico is worth $25 billion per year and employs 150,000 directly and 800,000 indirectly. About 3,600 firms have $1.4 billion invested in the sector.
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