Mexico's largest bag-making association plans to react to attacks by environmentalists and legislators alike by expanding marine cleanup initiatives and inviting industry heavyweights to join its ranks.
“Attacks on plastic — and plastic bags in particular — have proliferated in relation to marine debris and the alleged damage to marine life and that has taken us by surprise,” Héctor López, president of Industriales de la Bolsa Plástica AC (Inboplast) told Plastics News March 11.
“We must respond but it's no longer enough to do so just with words. We have to show that by taking concrete action and producing quantifiable results our companies and products are impacting the environment less.”
He said it's vital for the industry to move forward with sustainable production and consumption programs and other initiatives.
During the spring of 2014, together with national plastics association Anipac (Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico AC), Inboplast launched a pilot program to reduce the levels of plastic waste washed into the sea off the Pacific resort of Zihuatanejo. The program was called Yo Cuido Mi Playa (I Take Care of My Beach).
Containers were placed on Zihuatanejo's beaches, allowing tourists to separate and deposit all types of garbage, while volunteers distributed 12,000 rubbish bags to tourists and hung anti-waste banners and posters in hotel lobbies and restaurants.
Despite plans to extend the initiative to other resorts such as Cancún, Los Cabos, Manzanillo, Veracruz and Acapulco, to date nothing on the scale of Zihuatanejo has been tried again.
López, who is also the commercial director of GPS Global Plastic SA de CV of Arandas, Mexico, one of Inboplast's 20 members, said the threat of anti-bag legislation in Mexico is always present.
“However… we've learned to defend ourselves by addressing each threat individually and in a timely fashion and proposing environmental solutions that are better in all respects than prohibitions or proposals for [bag] substitution.”
Inboplast, whose members produce 16,000 tons of polyethylene bags per month, has 50 percent of the national market, López said in a telephone interview. Its sales are growing by 4 percent a year.