Plastic bags in Costa Rica
- by crv.staff
- 12:29 PM UTC
Costa Rica has joined the rest of the world on the issue of banning plastic bags. Should plastic bags be banned in Costa Rica?
The use or banning of plastic bags has many important unanswered questions. A visit to the Web shows that finding an answer to the problem may be a little complicated.
Many travel and tourism sites advocate using plastic bags for various legitimate reasons:
“Whenever I’m getting ready for a trip the first thing I do is raid the bag drawer in the kitchen. Zip-locks in three sizes are critical for any trip, gallon, quart and sandwich. The freezer bags are preferred because they are stronger and more durable. Push or suck the extra air out of the bags before sealing, especially if you are going to be changing altitude.”
“Bags are indispensable for travelers. They are tough as nails, and our clothes and books stayed dry through rainstorms that made us feel like we were swimming.” –Popular Web site quotes
In the meantime, keep the beaches clean:
400 volunteers cleaned Playa Guacalillo and Playa Azul and picked up 4,400 kilos, about 9,700 pounds, of trash, much of it recyclable
On the legal front:
A lawmaker wants to prohibit the importation, sale, production and use of plastic bags in Costa Rica. Homeowners would have to use biodegradable bags. The law is a companion measure to other bills that stress recycling.
Big business, making change happen now
Pricesmart in Costa Rica has a “no bag” policy in effect at all of the chain’s 25 stores.
Pricesmart wants to save12 million plastic bags annually. The chain uses 90 million plastic bags producing 750 tons of trash annually.
The company is offering reusable blue bags for sale. The bag is very durable, sold at cost, and used for shopping trips to other stores and supermarkets. It also saves the company money.
Other countries are in this too
“Ireland has been able to reduce its use of disposable grocery bags by 90% since 2001 via public programs. Heavy-duty reusable bags are convenient, environmentally friendly alternatives that have been embraced by millions around the world.” Web site quote
Are reusable bags safe?
The Canadian Plastics Industry Association examined the reusable grocery bag. 64 per cent of the environmentally-friendly bags tested contained bacteria, yeast, mould, coliforms and fecal intestinal bacteria. The more waterproof the bag is, the higher chance it has of becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.
So, reuse or use new?
“It’s a valid point, but I don’t think we need to go back to disposing billions of plastic bags, “we need to take care of the objectives, which is to be safe and healthy, so let’s wash the bags.” said WWF spokesman Steven Price
350 million member Face book has 107 “ban plastic bag” groups, several are “ban the ban” groups, complaining about how hard it is to live where plastic bags are banned.
Will plastic bags be banned in Costa Rica? Where is the middle ground? Time will tell. Certainly Costa Rica’s beauty will inspire new ways to care for her.
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