A bill that is being processed by the São Paulo City Council wants to prohibit the sale and distribution of plastic bags in commercial establishments in the capital of São Paulo.
Approved in the first vote, the text will still be analyzed in public hearings and, if approved in the second round, is expected to come into force in the second half of 2022.
According to the councilor Xexéu Tripoli (PSDB), author of the bill, the intention is to take it to a vote in plenary as of April. If approved, the text provides for a period of adaptation to the new rules.
“Currently, a regulation of 2011 is in force, which was poorly made because it was believed that the bags would be recycled, but since then, plastic disposal in the city has only increased”, says the parliamentarian about the bill that started to require the supply of biodegradable packaging or paper in the commerce.
At the time, São Paulo was the second Brazilian capital to end the distribution of plastic bags and require biodegradable versions, after Belo Horizonte (MG).
The change, however, was shrouded in controversy. Apas (Associação Paulista de Supermercados) and three supermarket chains (Carrefour, Pão de Açúcar and Sonda) appealed to the TJ-SP (São Paulo Court of Justice) and obtained an injunction that barred the requirement to distribute the items in stores .
The charge for bags became effective in September 2012, after a decision by the Chamber Reserved for the Environment of the Court of Justice of the State of São Paulo, which exempted establishments from providing the bags free of charge and fixed a value per unit.
According to Felipe Seffrin, communication coordinator at Instituto Akatu, the current plastic bags have only 51% of its composition of biodegradable material, and the others 49% come from petroleum derivatives. “Indiscriminate use has an impact on the climate crisis”, he says.
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Another data provided by the institute is that a third of all domestic waste is formed by packages that have been used only once. “It is not just reducing plastic bags that will save the planet, but the measure plays an important role in rethinking our relationship with packaging”, says Seffrin.
Councilman Tripoli says that the change in behavior must be inspired by previous generations who used canvas or cloth bags to carry groceries. “São Paulo generates 7 tons of waste a day, and many people think that recycling will solve everything, but only 2% of plastic is reused throughout the country”, he says.
According to the manager institutional Apas, Rodrigo Marinheiro, it is still not possible to measure the impact of the end of the sale of plastic bags in supermarkets. “The topic still needs to be widely discussed”, he says.
In a note, Apas stated that the end of free distribution reduced by 49 .4% the volume of plastic bags in the capital of São Paulo, which represented , 4 thousand tons of plastic that did not go to dumps and landfills. “The adhesion of other actors to the municipal law would make mitigation even more expressive”, informed the entity.