The secretary of the Latin American Oxo-Biodegradable Association defended biodegradable technology, which has been taking on criticism from recyclers.
The debate is particularly meaningful in Mexico City, where legislators are considering laws that could require that all plastic packaging contain biodegradable additives.
The use of oxo-biodegradable additives is not considered the definitive solution to environmental problems, said Aldimir Torres. However, it's a step in the right direction.
Torres, commercial director of Mexican resin manufacturer and distributor Resinas y Materiales SA de CV of Tlalnepantla, spoke during four days of forums that pitted Mexico's biodegradable lobby against those in favor of improved collection and recycling of plastics.
Listing what he called the myths and realities surrounding oxo-biodegradable agents, he said it has been scientifically proven that the technology works and that plastic treated with such additives can be recycled without any problem.
In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved its use with foodstuffs.
The technology is used in more than 50 countries, and more countries are legislating in favor of it.
But Eduardo de la Tijera Coeto, managing director of industry consultancy Grupo Texne, told the audience that there are no standards in the world upon which the legislators in Mexico City could have based their decision to ban plastic bags later this year and make it mandatory for all packaging in the capital to contain biodegradable elements.
The measures taken in Mexico have been more political than environmental, said De la Tijera, a former president of the national plastics industry association, Anipac (Asociacón Nacional de Industrias del Plastico AC). Mexican legislators have not investigated the options.
The industry and the public, he said, must demand that the authorities base their decisions on scientific conclusions, that there should be no discretional quotas or taxes on bags, that the interested parties should not be excluded from the decision making and that comfortable mediation should be rejected.
Together with Santiago García, head of another consulting company, CycloP, also based in the Mexican capital, De la Tijera coordinated the forums, which ran from March 16-19.
Eleven companies, most of them resin makers or distributors, sponsored the events because of the urgency of the situation facing the sector, De la Tijera said.
He said the federal environment ministry SEMARNAT (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales) supported and hosted them in its auditorium because it allowed the ministry to promote its national waste-management policies.
I'm very pleased [with the result], said De la Tijera. It's been a very high level of discussion.
The opposing sides, he added, agreed to discuss their disagreements and that is what has happened. There's no need to fight.
Furthermore, there's a consensus that this type of discussion must be part of a continuous process, he said.
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