An initiative that would see establishments fined starting in 2020 if they fail to provide biodegradable plastic bags, containers, straws and cups to their customers has been approved by the main body of the Jalisco State Congress.
Grocery outlets, restaurants and many other businesses in Jalisco will have the entirety of 2019 to prepare for the introduction of the law in 2020. A regulatory code for the enforcement of the legislation is to be drawn up within the next 60 days.
The reforms to the Ley del Equilibrio Ecológico y Protección al Ambiente also commands the state’s Environment and Science and Technology agencies to promote the development of recyclable plastic materials.
The Medio Ambiente and Innovación Ciencia y Tecnología agencies will be charged with assisting with technology transfer for firms that currently produce non-biodegradable plastic bags, straws and other items. They will also be expected to develop public awareness campaigns about recycling.
While on paper the law seems a positive step forward, it may prove difficult to enforce. For example, non-biodegradable unicel (styrofoam) is widely used in the state, especially for take-out food.
According to one report, there are around 385 producers of plastic container and cutlery materials in Jalisco.
Verónica Magdalena Jiménez Vázquez, one of two legislators who presented the initiative, said that the success of the new law will require close collaboration with the business and industrial sectors.
Jalisco will be fortunate to learn from the experiences of seven other Mexican states that enacted anti-plastic legislation: Veracruz, Querétaro, Nuevo León, Sonora, México City, Oaxaca and Baja California Sur
Sergio Jaime Santos, president of the state’s restaurant chamber, said his group is already preparing for the law change and has been in talks with producers of plastic materials for some time.”We don’t believe it is going to be a problem to stop using these products,” he told local media.