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Eight supermarket chains in Buenos Aires announced today that they will be implementing a new bagging system with coloured bags. Instead of offering complementary plastic bags to customers who have not brought their own, customers will have to buy green and black bags that can later be used for recyclable and non-recyclable goods respectively.
The government’s Plan for Plastic Bag Reduction statistics indicate that 75% of Buenos Aires residents use plastic grocery bags for trash in their homes. The use of coloured bags is part of a broader plan to reduce waste by promoting the separation of rubbish at home.
Buenos Aires Minister of Environment and Public Space, Diego Santilli, told Página 12: “The green agenda is one of the most important parts of our government.”
The law promoting the eradication of plastic bags was originally passed in 2009 and the official schedule to eliminate the bags was announced in May.
Lawmakers who oppose the measure question the charge of the green and black bags and suggest that they should be free to customers.
Buenos Aires legislator Adrián Camps told Página 12: “If they are trying to make people start recycling in their homes, the best way is for people to bring their own bags, it does not make sense to charge for them.”
The new green and black bag system is a step towards the complete elimination of non-biodegradable plastic bags in all supermarkets by October 2014. Industries who will be able to keep regular plastic bags for sanitation reasons include meat, fish and vegetable sellers as well as hospitals.
The price of the green and black bags has not yet been determined.