Push to promote fabric bags

Law 1 of January 19, 2018 prohibits the use of the polyethylene bag, which lasts more than half a century to degrade.

Only 12 months left for supermarkets, pharmacies and retailers to replace plastic bags with reusable bags.

Meanwhile, the warehouses and wholesalers have a period of 18 months to remove their polyethylene bags from their premises, as established by Law 1 of January 19, 2018.

Faced with this change in consumer habits, the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (Cciap) and the National Association for the Conservation of Nature debated how to best sensitize and educate users before the implementation of this regulation, to avoid confusion that can result in a failed application.

"The idea is to provide education to citizens to mitigate negative perceptions that this may arouse," said Barbara Soto , coordinator of the Commission for Corporate Social Responsibility of Cciap.

The law establishes that merchants may choose to collect plastic bags; However, the Consumer Protection and Defense of Competition Authority (Acodeco) must ensure that businesses comply with the standard and that the reusable bags are sold at the fair price.

According to a study published by the journal Science, every year about 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the sea.

Elías Elías , national director of Consumer Protection of Acodeco, argues that it is  the consumers who can make the change possible, and not laws.

He made it clear that this law does not limit the use of plastic bags, what is prohibited is the use of the polyethylene bag, a polymer derived from oil that requires large amounts of energy to manufacture and may take  more than a half century to degrade.

The Ministry of Environment has launched a campaign for the use of reusable bags.