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.