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On the Banning of Plastic Bags and Disposable Plastic / Styrofoam Cutlery and Serving Items

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A bill seeks to regulate the use of polystyrene or foam plastic in Panama

Fri, 09/07/2018 - 15:59

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A bill that seeks to regulate the use of expanded polystyrene, a plastic known as foam in Panama that is widely used as a container, was introduced today in the Panamanian Parliament by deputy and environmentalist Alda Spadafora.

The MP and activist stressed that for the production of expanded polystyrene petroleum-based plastics are used, so it is one of the largest pollutants in terrestrial and marine ecosystems, with effects on soil, water, marine fauna and humans.

But because of its low cost and resistance to extreme climates, this plastic is used in different products and aspects of daily life, especially in food handling, gardening, construction, transportation of goods and agriculture, she added.

Although most of this material is used for industrial purposes, it is also used for the production of cups, plates, containers and packages for food marketing.

She said that in Panama its use is growing, because in 2015 some 161,736 kilos of expanded polystyrene entered the country, while in 2017 that figure stood at 185,685 kilos.

Spadafora stressed that this plastic is already prohibited for food handling in several cities in the United States.

 

https://www.panamatoday.com/panama/bill-seeks-regulate-use-polystyrene-or-foam-plastic-panama-7792

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Panamanian mayor approves rule to reduce disposable plastics

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 12:37

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The Mayor's Office of the Panamanian capital today approved a rule to reduce the use of disposable plastics and encourage the consumption of biodegradable materials in all its facilities and in the activities it organizes.

The municipal agreement also includes promoting the use of biodegradable, compostable or reusable alternatives in open-air public events organized by private individuals, the Mayor's Office said in a statement.

The regulation, introduced by the vice-mayor and environmental ex activist, Raisa Banfield, also obliges the promoters of outdoor events to place containers to dispose of the plastic waste and transport the waste to collection centers for recycling.

The objective of the rule is "to prevent environmental pollution, maintain the ecological balance and avoid the destruction of ecosystems and the excessive increase in the use of all types of disposable plastics," the municipality added.

The 19 percent of the waste that is handled in the sanitary landfill that serves the capital and its surroundings are plastics, only behind the solid waste that represents 30 percent, according to data from the Mayor's Office.

Panama approved last January a pioneering law in Central America, which will come into force in January 2019 and which prohibits the use of disposable plastic bags in any type of commercial establishment.

The parliament of the Central American country will also discuss a bill to regulate the use of expanded polystyrene, a plastic known in Panama as "foam", which is used mainly as a food container.

The UN estimates that 8 million tons of plastic are dumped each year in the seas, equivalent to pouring a truck full of plastic per minute, and that 1 million birds and 1,000 sea turtles die as a result of this pollution each year.

The international organization estimates that, if things continue that way, by 2050 there will be more plastics than fish in the oceans.

The Mayor's Office of the Panamanian capital today approved a rule to reduce the use of disposable plastics and encourage the consumption of biodegradable materials in all its facilities and in the activities it organizes.

The municipal agreement also includes promoting the use of biodegradable, compostable or reusable alternatives in open-air public events organized by private individuals, the Mayor's Office said in a statement.

The regulation, introduced by the vice-mayor and environmental ex activist, Raisa Banfield, also obliges the promoters of outdoor events to place containers to dispose of the plastic waste and transport the waste to collection centers for recycling.

The objective of the rule is "to prevent environmental pollution, maintain the ecological balance and avoid the destruction of ecosystems and the excessive increase in the use of all types of disposable plastics," the municipality added.

The 19 percent of the waste that is handled in the sanitary landfill that serves the capital and its surroundings are plastics, only behind the solid waste that represents 30 percent, according to data from the Mayor's Office.

Panama approved last January a pioneering law in Central America, which will come into force in January 2019 and which prohibits the use of disposable plastic bags in any type of commercial establishment.

The parliament of the Central American country will also discuss a bill to regulate the use of expanded polystyrene, a plastic known in Panama as "foam", which is used mainly as a food container.

The UN estimates that 8 million tons of plastic are dumped each year in the seas, equivalent to pouring a truck full of plastic per minute, and that 1 million birds and 1,000 sea turtles die as a result of this pollution each year.

The international organization estimates that, if things continue that way, by 2050 there will be more plastics than fish in the oceans.

 

https://www.panamatoday.com/panama/panamanian-mayor-approves-rule-reduce-disposable-plastics-7951

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I bought 5 small items at Super Baru this morning. Sure enough, the bag boy substituted paper bags for the ubiquitous plastic ones. However when I got home I discovered my 5 small items were bagged with 3 paper bags of various sizes. I guess you can train them to use paper instead of plastic but what is needed is to train them that not every item needs its separate bag.

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ENVIRONMENT: battling the plastics monster

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As in the rest of the world, there have been several attempts in Central America to ban the use of some plastic products. Last month in El Salvador, a law initiative was presented to Congress establishing a one-year deadline for companies to replace the use of plastic bags with other materials and  companies producing articles with avocado and corn seed resin, and products with additives that allow the decomposition of plastic in less time

In Panama, on January 19   this year, supermarkets, pharmacies, and retailers were given 18 months to stop using plastic bags, and warehouses and wholesalers got 24 months.

In Guatemala, t the end of 2017, a law was presented to the Congress, already approved by a legislative commission, which proposes to ban the use of plastic bags in the country

In this context, companies in the  plastics  sector seek to innovate in the creation of products, since the beginning of the year Carvajal Empaques  at its plants in El Salvador are doing studies with avocado seed resin, corn resins and products with additives to decompose the plastic in less time (from one to five years). They are currently in the phase of producing the first presentations of plates and glasses, which  will be marketed in early 2019  reports, CentralAmericaData
 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/environment/panama-3/environment-battling-the-plastics-monster

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And the plastic bags are just part of the problem. I recently bought a 16-pack of Scott tissue at PriceSmart, only to discover that each ROLL of toilet paper (within the plastic of 16 rolls) is firmly wrapped in plastic as well. It takes scissors and determination to unwrap each roll. Also, the Member Select brand of papers towels wrapped in plastic (last time an 8-roll) has each 2 rolls also wrapped strongly in plastic. All this use of plastic is totally unnecessary!

I buy the Member Select paper towels for the clinics...we use a lot of them, but they are not much better than 1-ply toilet paper. For my house, I buy the Bounty brand. More expensive, but they last forever...and the individual rolls within the plastic wrapping are NOT again wrapped in plastic.

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6 months countdown to polyethylene shopping bags farewell

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Plastic polyethylene bags will  disappear from Panama  supermarkets, pharmacies and retailers, in just six according to   a law introduced  in  January of this year but  the countdown for warehouses and wholesalers is extended until January 2020

The law does not limit the use of plastic bags in the country, but  prohibits the use of polyethylene bags, a polymer derived from oil that requires large amounts of energy for its manufacture and may take over a 100 years to degrade.

Faced with the changes that are looming in consumer habits, several supermarket chains and users have chosen to implement alternatives to minimize the use of this type of material, but  for environmentalists, the transformations have not been significant.

In the case of the Colombian retail company Justo y Bueno , which operates  grocery stores and supermarkets, it offers customers three types of possibilities to make purchases: purchase plastic bags for 10 cents, buy a reusable ecological bag for 74 cents or use the cardboard boxes they have in the  packing area for free.

Super 99 and Riba Smith have programmed campaigns to promote the use of reusable bags.

But, he majority of users continue to do their shopping and carry it in polyethylene traditional bags, despite the efforts of the business and environmental groups to reduce the use of the material.

“I have not seen a real change taking place in the face of the measure that will be implemented from July next year, and that is worrisome,” says Susana Serracín , president of the Alliance for Conservation and Development ( ACD).

She  says that  consumers are not responsible in relation to the use of polyethylene bags. “Nor do I see the businesses being more energetic on this issue. Often the packers grab two or three bags  for  a single purchase.”

But when the bags are gone from the stores, reusable will be forcibly back in fashion, and there will be less plastic in the world’s oceans.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/6-months-countdown-to-polyethylene-shopping-bags-farewell

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Moderator comment: For more information about WYD, see: http://www.chiriqui.life/topic/3043-world-youth-day-wyd-in-panama-and-pope-francis-visits-panama-22-27-january-2019/

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Panama will deliver reusable bottles to avoid excess of plastic in WYD

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 15:03

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Pilgrims who will travel to Panama next January to attend the World Youth Day (WYD) will receive a reusable bottle, a measure that seeks to reduce the consumption of plastic during the religious event, organizers have informed today.

The reusable bottle is part of the so-called "pilgrim kit", which will be delivered to young people officially registered in WYD and which also includes, among other items, a cap, a T-shirt, a scarf, a prayer book and a biodegradable bag to deposit the waste.

Panama will host, between January 22 and 27, 2019, the WYD, one of the most important events of the Catholic Church, which every three years brings together thousands of young people from all over the world with the Pope.

The visit of Francisco, who will arrive in Panama on January 23, has generated immense interest not only in this country but throughout Central America, since the last pontiff who traveled to the region was John Paul II in 1983.

"The environmental component is present throughout the organization of the WYD, including the management of waste during the central events", the organizing committee said in a statement on Monday.

Pope Francis' agenda includes mass masses and meetings with the Panamanian Government and the Central American bishopric, as well as visits to a youth prison and a social shelter directed by the Church.

The Panamanian Episcopal Conference reported in November that there are already 226,000 registered pilgrims and about 5,000 accredited journalists.

Plastic pollution is a serious environmental problem that affects the entire region, including Panama.

The UN estimates that eight million tons of plastic reach the seas every year, equivalent to pouring a truck full of plastic a minute, and estimates that by 2050 there will be more plastics than fishes in the oceans.

Panama approved last January a pioneering law in Central America, which will come into force in January 2019 and which prohibits the use of disposable plastic bags in any type of commercial establishment.

 

https://www.panamatoday.com/panama/panama-will-deliver-reusable-bottles-avoid-excess-plastic-wyd-8704

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