Welcome to Mexico!
By Victoria Schmidt
Lakeside Goes Green
The Jalisco Congress has approved its anti-plastic law. It gives businesses until 2020 to comply with new rules. I applaud their measures to protect the environment. When I see the terrible mess that plastics have caused in our oceans and on our lands, I am more than happy to try to use less plastic.
The problem is how? I have my stainless steel straws and brushes to clean them, I carry a thermos jug for my water. I use cloth bags when I go shopping, but I have a terrible problem remembering to take them out of my back seat when I go into the store! Habits are hard to change.
The government wants restaurants to use different materials for take out containers, which I think is wonderful. I’ve always hated those Styrofoam containers. I wonder what coffee drinkers from Starbucks to Oxxo will do?
But this is all just a start on a very big problem. I recently purchased a universal remote. It was surrounded by so much plastic I’m sure an entire box of straws had lost their lives. It took me scissors and X-acto knife to get through the plastic. And there were other plastic boxes inside. I think the manufacturing industry must work hard to find other ways to package their material.
I’ve seen an ad on television where an infamous company shows photos of the environment and talks about how much they care, and how they have reduced the plastic content of their water bottles by 40%. Wow. They are still plastic. And the company takes water rights away from the citizens.
In the “good old days” we were all happy to recycle our milk bottles, soda bottles, beer bottles. Of course, they would mean a great deal of manufacturing changes. But I hear there is a shortage of jobs. I know that soda cans and beer cans have plastic tabs, but they are working on different packaging there as well.
Which leads me to another step we all must make. It’s difficult. My husband and I have done it for years, and we had a system that worked, but implementing the system in Mexico may not be easy. It’s recycling trash. We sorted plastic trash in one container, aluminum in another, and organic in a trash can. Our community also provided the containers. A special truck made of three side compartments would collect the sorted recycling. And I know that here, the City of Chapala had advertised certain pick up days for each. But, I’m just not sure it worked out. It looked as if anything and everything was picked up all at once, and I believe that the program was never really successful on its initial trial.
I know I certainly don’t have the answers. I’m so glad the Mexican Congress is beginning the process, and is forward thinking, but it is going to take the cooperation of all the people in all walks of life in order to make these changes. Many stores are changing to biodegradable. But do we know if these new biodegradable products really are? We will be finding out over the next year.
Meanwhile, I’ve a collection of cloth bags from many vendors. Some have been given to me for free; other vendors sell them for a nominal fee. I find using them makes more sense. The bags are stronger, the handles don’t fall apart...but be careful, because they can stuff many items into those bags, especially the larger stores, and they can become very heavy to carry.
Let’s all do our part to go green.
Column: Welcome to Mexico
Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. She is a graduate of Moorhead State University, Minnesota and graduated Cum Laude with a BA degree in Radio, Television and Film. At 23 she was hired at multi-national media corporation, where she worked 10 years as their Director for Operations and Finance. She then ran her own business consulting company. She has won multiple community service awards. Writing has been a passion of Victoria’s since Junior High. She has been active in the writing and publishing business for over 40 years and has been a columnist for the Ojo del Lago since 2008.