Plastic bag ban not a solution, says Brazil plastics group

07 June 2011 00:29  [Source: ICIS news]

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (ICIS)--A ban on plastic bags in Brazil by itself will not solve environmental problems because there are not good available alternatives to such bags, a plastics group said on Monday.

Several cities in Brazil have passed ordinances requiring supermarkets to stop distributing plastic grocery bags.

Since the city of Sao Paulo passed a plastic bag ban on 17 May, some Brazilian states such Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Sul have seen a decrease on plastic bag usage. The capital of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, had passed a similar ban a day after Sao Paulo did.

At least 24 cities are discussing the plastic bag ban in the state of Minas Gerais, according to the local newspaper O Estado de Minas.

In Rio Grande do Sul, plastic bag consumption fell by 20% in the last two years according, to the Gaucha Association of Supermarkets (Agas).

The association said an improvement of the quality of plastic bags has led to their repeated use, which in turn has lead to a decrease in the number being used.

Plastic Environmental Institute (Plastivida) president Miguel Bahiense said the issue of plastic bags is one of waste rather than harm to the environment. Plastivida is an organisation of plastic industry members.

Brazil does not have sufficient alternatives to plastic, but the industry could make stronger plastic grocery bags to allow for their repeated use, thus cutting down on the total number of bags used.

The government of Sao Paulo and the Sao Paulo Supermarkets Association ordered supermarkets to do not distribute plastic bags until the end of the year. On the other hand, supermarkets may sell to consumers plastic bags.

By: Leo Siqueira
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