Reuse and recycle instead of discarding. That is the message that, according to Caterina Costa, president of the Chamber of Industries of Guayaquil, should prevail in the city when it comes to proposing solutions to reduce the environmental impact of garbage in the ecosystem.
The representative of the sector, mentions that the incentive of the classification from the origin is the most convenient way to take and not the prohibition of the manufacture of plastics for a single use, as established by the ordinance approved on September 6 by the Municipal Council of Guayaquil.
“We believe that it is not appropriate to prohibit manufacturing, because it does not attack the root of the problem. This is to cover the sun with a finger. I told the mayor that this decision would affect the industry and that it should have also been analyzed with trade and the academy to find more sustainable solutions. What you have to do is stop discarding, “he says.
Although one of the objectives of the regulation is to develop a circular economy (a model that seeks to ensure that products or components maintain their usefulness and value at all times) it is also mentioned that these products can be replaced by biodegradable materials, which without a proper separation from home influences pollution.
A report by the Argentine company Ecoplas, based on data from the Sanitary Engineering Institute of the University of Buenos Aires, confirms this. “There are those who consider that the use of biodegradable packaging is the ideal and definitive solution to end the problem of garbage. Unfortunately this is not true. Much of the impacts on a landfill are related to uncontrolled biodegradation by the generation of methane, putrefaction, odor release, “is mentioned in the document.
In 2015, the United Nations Environment Program dismissed biodegradable as an unrealistic solution, which will not reduce the amount of plastic going to the seas or prevent the physical or chemical damage that these materials pose to marine ecosystems.
According to the study, there is evidence that people throw away more products labeled as biodegradable. What should be avoided in the city.
For the decomposition process to meet its objective, these products must be sent to an industrial composter and cannot be mixed with recyclables. Nor should be thrown next to organic waste.
The Chamber of Industries assures that the elimination of plastic would also have a sanitary impact. “This requires a lot of technical analysis. There are industrial products that for health carry a straw that goes inside a plastic, to avoid putting the mouth on the container that comes from a warehouse in which there may be rodents or insects that can make you sick, “says Costa.
Regarding the replacement of tubs or foam containers, the president says that you cannot transport food with liquids (like broths) in cardboard containers, so giving more time to the industry to look for substitutes is vital.
“In the case of foam, there is a challenge in the change of technology, so the mayor and councilors have decided to give 36 months to develop this technology, if they cannot always use recyclable plastic,” explains Gustavo Manrique, who developed the ordinance together with the Christian Social Assemblywoman Dallyana Passailaigue.
Here is a topic of shared responsibility, says Passailaigue, “this is a challenge for both the citizens and the municipality and for the plastic industry sector and we all have to assume our responsibilities from our spaces”.
The industry has asked Mayor Jaime Nebot to implement a regulation that clarifies several points and redirects the regulations to avoid the generation of more waste.
“Reusing is more viable”
Substituting the use of plastics or biodegradable materials for options that can be reused, is the proposal of Andrea Garzón, specialist in environmental services and director of Huella Verde. Garzón, who leads a project to clean metal and ceramic dishes and utensils in a shopping center in Quito, believes that the goal should be “to focus on generating less waste.” (I)