A ban on single-use plastics such as disposable cutlery, cups and straws came into force in Mexico City on January 1 but the government has acknowledged that so far it has had little effect.
The prohibition took effect a year after plastic bags were banned in the capital but they too continue to be given to customers at some shops.
In recent days, street food businesses such as taco stands have continued to give salsa to take-out customers in small plastic containers while other vendors have offered plastic forks and spoons to patrons.
The Mexico City Environment Ministry attributed non-compliance with the plastic ban to the coronavirus pandemic and “disinformation.”
Andrée Lilian Guigue Pérez, the ministry’s general director of impact assessment and environmental regulation, said that some people thought the ban had been postponed due to the pandemic but stressed that’s not the case.
She said authorities will revisit restaurants to ensure that they are aware of the new rule that took effect last week and speak to business chambers that represent stores that sell single-use plastics or give them to customers.
“There is still disinformation in tianguis [street markets] and markets, in these places they have already purchased materials [single-use plastics] precisely because” they believed the ban had been postponed, Guigue said.
The official noted that the Mexico City Economic Development Ministry has a micro-loans program to help businesses find and purchase non-plastic food packaging and utensils.
“Cardboard has worked,” Guigue said. “There are options but the pandemic has delayed … [the change] a little bit, you have to take into account that a lot of these supplies are imported.”
She said the government will initially focus its efforts on eliminating formal businesses’ use of disposable plastics before shifting its attention to the informal sector.
“We’re moving toward elimination,” Guigue said before expressing confidence that Mexico City will one day be free of single-use plastics.
Source: El País (sp)