Last updateFri, 21 Sep 2018 10am

The plastic bag apocalypse

Plastic bags are well-nigh immortal. In many cases they will survive for over 100 years as landfill waste or litter, and can be used by vampires for lunch bags.

Mexico has a serious problem with plastic bags. They’re everywhere.

Last month, lawmakers in Veracruz prohibited the use of plastic bags, packaging and straws. Similar bans are being enacted in many other municipalities.  Local merchants who continue to provide these disposable bags are being punished with fines and with refusals to renew business licenses. The bans also serve as a conservation effort, as bags and other plastic packaging are known to strangle wildlife.

But as you might see from your plastic bag drawer, these penalties have had little or no effect on proliferation – or your ability when on shopping trips to remember a tote bag or pillow case, or a fishing net if heading to Costco. Or, you can just dump everything you buy in your arms and risk looking like a looter and being shot.

The bags are as deeply entrenched in our product distribution chains as are 16-wheeler, road crunching Coca Cola trucks and that “impossible-to-open” shrink-wrapping. (Raising the question, why should it take me 25 minutes to dig out an aspirin?)  Here at lakeside, all of this is vividly apparent,because there’s no authority overseeing prohibition and no one is sure what is recyclable and what isn’t. Polyestyrene terephtalate bags are the ones that are recyclable. Unfortunately, more than 500 billion plastic bags are used every year in Mexico and nobody knows which are biodegradable and which are not.   Also part of this eco-disaster are drinking straws, which all come from China, the drinking straw capital of the world.


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