The United States has taken steps towards eliminating single-use plastics, with straw bans sweeping companies nationwide. But in Guatemala, that’s all old news. Multiple towns in the Central American country have now cut single-use plastics entirely, with still more on the way.
According to OZY, the municipality of San Miguel Petapa is one of the latest to ditch plastics. Mayor Luis Reyes announced the ban in June, though it didn’t take effect until August, after a lengthy information campaign to educate the public. Now, anyone caught selling items in plastic packaging will face a fine of $150-$650, which is an enormous fee for most of the working-class residents.
San Miguel Petapa follows in the footsteps of Cantel, Acatenango, and roughly eight other Guatemalan municipalities that have banned single-use plastics over the past two years. The trend is usually attributed to San Pedro la Laguna, the picturesque town bordering Lake Atitlán which curbed plastic use in October 2016.