"Our New Plastics Economy (NEP) is an initiative to create an economic model where plastics are reincorporated as valued material rather than thrown away."

Aldimir Torres

PRESIDENT, MEXICO’S NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PLASTIC INDUSTRIES (ANIPAC)

December 08, 2021

Can you describe ANIPAC’s mission, vision and the type of companies you represent?

ANIPAC’s mission is to promote the competitiveness and sustainability of the Mexican plastics industry, in harmony with the environment and the community with actions supported by ethics, communication, consensus, and specialized services to its associates. We are a world-class association, body of consultation and representation of the interests of the plastic industry in Mexico that responds to the challenges and trends of the environment as the main generator of initiatives that promote innovation, and technological, competitive and sustainable development of the industry.

ANIPAC represents the plastics industry in an integral way. Our members include bag and film manufacturers, equipment and machinery suppliers, raw material distributors, recyclers, rotational molders, transformers, PVC transformers, and bio-material producers and distributors. 

How has the plastics industry performed in the last two years, and what are the main themes you see impacting the Mexican plastics industry in 2021?

Mexican plastics consumption is approximately 7 million tons per year, of which 47% represents  packaging, 21% is general consumption, 12% for construction, 7% for electronics, 6% for automotive applications, 3% for agriculture, and 3% for medical purposes. The past two years have brought about many challenges and the plastics sector as a whole experienced negative growth. However, the medical and agricultural segments had positive growth, with the construction and automotive industries recovering in 2021.

The pandemic changed the life parameters of consumers. Mexico has faced challenges with legislation as politics here can be quite passionate but not very technical, and the country has also experienced environmental issues. These factors have all impacted the plastics industry and we have seen many supply chains affected, resulting in huge price increases. To date, challenges remain regarding the availability of plastics and raw materials, with small to medium companies being impacted the most.

How is ANIPAC working to stimulate recycling for a circular economy?

ANIPAC is working with authorities to transform plastic waste from garbage to a high value raw material. Our New Plastics Economy (NEP) is an initiative to create an economic model where plastics are reincorporated as valued material rather than thrown away. Mexico has one of the highest recycling rates in the world, approximately 26% (compared to 19% in the USA, for example), and the objective of creating a circular economy is to ensure that products, components and materials maintain their usefulness and value at all times. We are focused on reducing, reusing, rethinking and redesigning the use of plastics to move from a linear economic model to a circular economic model.

Mexico has one of the world’s largest transformers for recycling PET materials, as well as the largest plant for polyethylene recycling in Latin America. Considering migrating to the use of bio-materials, the world’s recycling capacity is only about 2 million tonnes per year (mt/y), but in Mexico alone, we need capacity of approximately 3.3 million mt/y, and this is a great challenge.

How do ANIPAC and its members work in collaboration with the media and authorities to improve the image of the plastics industry and educate the general public?

As an organization, we put in the effort to educate the public that plastics are not the enemy. We are working on environmental applications and social responsibility projects such as the I Care program, with the objective to carry out cleaning either at sea, or basins where contamination by plastic waste is seen. The goal is to involve society through volunteering in the collection of waste, highlighting the importance of the proper use of products, and promote proper handling and disposal at the end of their useful life.

We also have the CPP Program, which is based on Operation Clean Sweep, developed by the Plastics Industry Association with whom ANIPAC has signed an agreement to promote this work in Mexico. The program provides tools to improve and incorporate new practices for the correct handling and transportation of pellets to reduce waste to zero. The organization also works closely with universities and R&D centers to promote sustainability.

Do you have a final message about where plastics industry priorities should be focused?

Mexico is in the process of authorizing federal laws for waste and a circular economy, which we hope will bring some order to the legislation and various initiatives. Environmentally, we have a global problem that needs our attention and responsible consumption should be a main focus for governments, companies and consumers. Plastics are an important element in our lives, crying out to be used responsibly. We need to significantly reduce the volume of plastics worldwide, promote reuse and increase recycling capacity.

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