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Guatemala to ban plastic bags, straws, cups beginning 2021

September 20, 2019 GMT

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemala’s government is putting in place a ban on plastic bags and other disposable single-serve items that will take effect in 2021.

The measure gives merchants two years to phase out bags, straws, plates, cups and containers made from plastic or plastic foam, and replace them with compostable items.

There are exemptions for materials and supplies for medical and therapeutic purposes, as well as imports that are sealed in plastic.

President Jimmy Morales has backed Friday’s measure on environmental grounds. Some businesspeople oppose it, while some environmentalists say it doesn’t do enough to attack the problem of waste mismanagement.

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About 17 of Guatemala’s 340 municipalities already have plastic bans, and people use things like paper and banana leaves as substitutes. Some Guatemalans opt to carry their own reusable bags.

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