Plastics industry leaders, hoping to head off a law that would ban non-degradable plastic bags in all Mexico City stores later this year, said they have convinced authorities to adopt what they consider a less draconian attitude.
The city's environment minister has agreed to propose amendments to the law, passed by the capital's Legislative Assembly in March, said Guillermo Salas, president of Mexico's National Plastics Industry Association (Anipac).
The law also ordains that, within a year, all plastic packaging not just polyethylene bags should contain biodegradable agents.
The Assembly is likely to debate the matter again in late March, according to Alfredo LÃ³pez Machorro, Anipac's managing director.
Salas said Environment Minister Martha Delgado is sympathetic to Anipac's argument that a better course of action would be for the government to introduce more stringent garbage separation and recycling measures.
Anipac also is proposing that plastic waste unfit for recycling be used to fuel electricity-generating plants.
We would have to install 160 [electricity-generating] plants across the country, Salas said in a Jan. 27 e-mail, explaining that each facility would have the capacity to process 450 tons of plastic waste per day.
The supplier of recycling equipment that converts garbage into energy has offered us financing of up to 85 percent if, and only if, we obtain a concession from municipal governments to use the rubbish and arrange for the [Federal Electricity Commission] to take the energy we generate.
According to Salas, some of Anipac's ideas come from recommendations by the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. in Washington and similar organizations.
He discussed the issue with SPI President and CEO Bill Carteaux and others at the NPE show last year in Chicago, he said.
Salas, who described the law as it stands as perverse, said he believes it is impossible to comply in a large country like Mexico. Others have said it could be catastrophic for Mexico's recyclers, which Salas said employ 20,000 full-time workers and another 100,000 indirectly.
Mexico comprises 31 states and the Federal District of Mexico City. The Mexico City metropolitan area has about 20 million inhabitants, who represent about a fifth of the country's total population.
Environment Minister Delgado was not available for comment. But Susana Trujillo, a spokeswoman for the Federal District, indicated she was aware of the possibility of changes to the bag ban legislation.
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