By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Following some progressive leaders like the state of California (U.S.) and the entire country of Chile, the state of Rio de Janeiro will ban bags made with petroleum-based plastics from commercial establishments, such as supermarkets, within eighteen months.
Governor Luiz Fernando Pezão (Bigfoot) sanctioned the Law 8.006 yesterday, Tuesday, June 26th, which was published in the Official Gazette. According to governor Pezão, “This law aims to raise awareness about the serious problem of pollution with plastic bags.”
The deadline for small businesses in Rio to replace the plastic bags is eighteen months, and twelve months for larger companies. Pezão explained the period that businesses will have to make the replacement of the bags will help with social adoption. “With the support of the population, it will be a very important measure for the preservation of the environment,” he said.
The reusable bags being introduced in the state should compose of at least 51 percent of renewable material, such as bioplastics produced from sugar cane or corn. The bags will be made in two colors: green, for recyclable waste, and gray, for other waste, to help the consumer to separate the garbage and facilitate seperate collection.
Expatriate in Rio and co-owner of popular Azteka Mexican restaurant in Ipanema, Aglika Angelova, is passionate about the environment and as a food business owner is optimistic about the law.
She shares, “This law cannot come early enough, the use of plastic bags in the supermarkets in Rio is out of control! It is such a positive development for Rio – the city, the state and for the planet.” She adds, “There will be resistance on the side of the public, but the Cariocas will adapt quickly to the new reality.”
Rio native Marcia Haaberg, owner of the Português Carioca language school in Leblon agrees. “Not only Cariocas but the Brazilian population will gradually adapt to using biodegradable plastics like people have been doing for a long time in the developed countries.”
Explaining, “It will take some time for Cariocas to get adapted to it due to social issues. Those who are more educated, will for sure, adapt first.”