Despite — and perhaps because of — the insufficiency of recycling programs in greater Guadalajara, many conscientious people are engaged in their own, sometimes surprising, efforts to protect the environment.
Fernando Ortiz, Education Director of CasaCem, which offers public ecological and recycling programs, mentioned styrofoam as an example of a dangerous product he personally avoids.
“It’s a waste issue as well as a health issue,” he says, explaining that styrofoam, or polystyrene, is generally not recyclable and that cancer researchers call it a probable carcinogen. So, since styrofoam is commonly used for coffee cups and disposable plates, not using it can have a big effect.
“If a restaurant uses styrofoam, don’t go there. Or bring your own Tupperware,” he said, adding that “Tupperware and similar products use number 5 plastic — ‘P.P.’ or polypropylene — which is the best kind to be in contact with food. Conscientious producers use number 5. And that’s another thing I do to pressure businesses not to use bad plastic. Check the bottoms of containers and only buy food in number 5.”
Claudia Grossi, who handles community relations at the American School in Guadalajara, seems to be on the same wavelength. Not only does she support the school’s robust ecological and recycling program — disposable plastic water bottles are absolutely forbidden here and our cafeterias don’t use disposable dishes,” she notes — she takes her own Tupperware container when she buys food from a stand.
Jose Luis Montañez, who has two children attending the American School, says his family’s buying habits have been affected by the school’s strict rules. His tip: “They don’t allow any single-use plastic at the school, and my children can’t take juice or milk in plastic bottles, so we don’t buy that type of thing.”
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