Si no hay un uso adecuado, las alternativas pueden contaminar más que las bolsas de plástico.
A más de una semana de implementarse la ley contra el uso de bolsas de plástico de un solo uso en comercios de la Ciudad de México, miles de capitalinos se acostumbran a realizar sus compras con carritos para el mandado, bolsas reutilizables y contenedores plásticos.
 
La reforma al Reglamento de la Ley de Residuos Sólidos del Distrito Federal ha recibido el visto bueno de grupos ambientalistas como Greenpeace México. Después de todo, cada año se consumen 48 kilogramos de plásticos por persona en la Ciudad de México, y este tipo de medidas eran necesarias para reducir la dependencia de la población al plástico de un solo uso.
 
Sin embargo, varios especialistas señalan que la prohibición no es suficiente si lo que buscamos es un auténtico beneficio para el medio ambiente. Encima de la ley, el gobierno debe emprender una campaña de educación para que los capitalinos sepan cómo aprovechar las opciones alternativas, ya que estas, si no se les da el uso adecuado, pueden terminar por generar un impacto negativo aún mayor.
 
Bolsas compostables
 
Las únicas permitidas en la capital del país son las bolsas compostables, de acuerdo a lo emitido por la Secretaría del Medio Ambiente de la Ciudad de México (Sedema). Pero cabe aclarar que el material compostable no es lo mismo que material biodegradable, aunque los términos suelen ser empleados como si fueran sinónimos.
 
Pero vamos por pasos. Mientras el proceso de descomposición de una bolsa de plástico es de 400 a mil años, para una bolsa compostable o biodegradable solo es necesario que pasen seis meses. Pero no es tan simple como el proceso orgánico de una cáscara de naranja que termina en un terreno baldío, tal como explica Libby Peake, del think tank Green Alliance:
 
Muchas tiendas están vendiendo envases descritos como biodegradables o compostables. Pero en realidad esos artículos solo pueden ser convertidos en composta [un compuesto de residuos orgánicos obtenido artificialmente por descomposición bioquímica] por medio de un proceso industrial, e incluso así, algunos productos podrían no ser completamente asimilados.
 
Una bolsa de plástico biodegradable es aquella que “es capaz de descomponerse en dióxido de carbono, metano, agua, componentes inorgánicos o biomasa, como resultado de la acción de microorganismos” pero no se convierte en abono, a diferencia de la compostable.
 
 
Según la Sedema, las bolsas biodegradables no son permitidas como alternativas a las bolsas de plástico en la CDMX (aunque tampoco se ha registrado una solicitud para empezar a distribuirlas).
 
Bolsas de papel
Como las bolsas compostables no están disponibles en todas partes, muchos comercios recurren a las bolsas de papel, pero esta opción tiene sus defectos frente al plástico.
 
Como es evidente, el papel nace de la tala de árboles y es más pesado que el plástico, por lo que el gasto de energía invertida en su producción y transporte puede ser hasta cuatro veces más, según un estudio. La ventaja del papel es que se desintegra en pocos meses, se puede reciclar con más facilidad, y cabe decir que hay muchos fabricantes que usan madera de bosques renovables.
 
 
Solo basta con reutilizar una bolsa de papel tres veces para que su impacto ambiental sea equivalente al de una bolsa de plástico. Pero esto es lo complicado, hay que reutilizarlas. Si vamos a la panadería, la costumbre general es tirar la bolsa a la basura después de hacer la compra. En otras palabras, una bolsa de papel de un solo uso es peor que una bolsa de plástico de un solo uso.
 
Bolsa de algodón
Las bolsas de algodón son más duraderas que las de plástico, papel y, claro, las compostables, pero debido a la cantidad de energía invertida en su producción y en la fertilización del algodón, tendrías que reutilizar una bolsa de este tipo 131 veces para que su impacto ambiental sea menor al de una bolsa de plástico.
 
Bolsa de tela
También conocidas como bags for life en otros países, estas son las bolsas verdes o rojas que puedes conseguir en las cajas de varios supermercados. Una sola de estas bolsas puede cargar de 15 a 25 kilos de productos y te puede durar años. Si le das un uso adecuado, dejas de desperdiciar 650 bolsas de plástico al año. Además, solo basta con que uses tu bolsa reciclable de cuatro a once veces (según el tamaño) para que el impacto ambiental de esta sea menor al de una bolsa de plástico.
 
Pero para que esta bolsa realmente tenga un efecto positivo en el ambiente, es necesario que NO la olvides en casa y termines comprando una nueva cada que vas al supermercado. Si caemos en la mala costumbre de usar estas bolsas como las de un solo uso, el impacto ambiental sería mucho mayor que con las bolsas de plástico. Por eso, la reutilización de tu bolsa es clave.
 
Con información de la BBC.

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