Alternate options to the ban on disposable plastics in CDMX

Alternatives to the ban on disposable plastics in CDMX

3, 2021

5 min read

This article has been translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors can occur due to this process.

From this Friday, companies in the capital will no longer be able to deliver disposable plates, glasses and cutlery, among other things. This is due to the entry into force of the second stage of the law banning single-use plastics in Mexico City.

The first phase of this legislation was implemented on January 1, 2020 when the marketing, distribution and delivery of plastic bags to consumers was banned.

This year the law will be extended to other single-use plastic and styrofoam products:

  • dishes
  • glasses
  • tapas
  • Straws
  • Forks, spoons and knives
  • Mix the sticks
  • Food trays
  • Coffee capsules
  • Balloons and balloon sticks
  • cotton swab
  • Tampon applicators, wholly or partly of plastic
  • Products that contain deliberately added microplastics (e.g., face and body scrubs, sunscreens, shower gels, toothpaste, soaps and other personal care products).

Garbage bags (for hygienic reasons until composting agents are available) and all plastics used in the health and medical sector have been excluded from the ban.

I share

As of today, January 1st, 2021, environmentally harmful single-use plastic products will no longer be used in Mexico City.

We care about the planet, we care about #OurHouse.

– Claudia Sheinbaum (@Claudiashein) January 1, 2021

What about take-away food and drinks?

The merchants are most concerned about the reforms of the CDMX Waste Act. Many vendors, especially those with prepared foods, are having to look for more environmentally friendly alternatives to deliver their products beyond plastic and styrofoam.

The ban on plastic bags resulted in much of the capital shopping for food and beverages using cloth bags to shop and carry their own containers. Reinforcing this habit would be the best option for customers and dealers alike, but it is not always possible to wear your "tuppers".

According to legislation, the capital city government allows the sale, consumption and distribution of single-use products only if they are made from compostable materials. That is, they can biodegrade to at least 90% within six months if exposed to an oxygen-rich environment or contact with organic materials.

For many, the most practical option would be to switch to paper plates, glasses, and trays, or to wrap food in paper. There are also those that are biodegradable because they are made from natural fibers such as corn starch, bamboo or avocado pit, among other things. Another option is to save the custom of serving food in edible packaging such as cones or waffle baskets for ice cream.

However, these alternatives (compostable plastic, paper and cardboard, or natural / edible materials) put an additional burden on retailers. They will decide whether to take on the costs, reduce their profits, or increase the price of their products to compensate . Another option would be to only charge containers and utensils to buyers who do not bring theirs.

Requirements for the use of compostable plastics

Companies must register with the Ministry of the Environment (Sedema) in order to market, distribute or supply compostable plastics. In order to obtain this record, interested parties must submit a management plan specifying the process that the product will follow to ensure disposal in facilities for composting or recycling at the end of its useful life.

The Directorate-General for Impact Assessment and Environmental Regulation (DGEIRA) will provide the interested party with an alphanumeric record. All products that are registered with DGEIRA bear the legend "compostable" or "compostable" as well as a logo of the certification company and the standard that is complied with.


The Mexico City government plans to impose economic sanctions on those who continue to supply single-use plastics. These range from 500 to 2,000 times the unit of measure and update to the CDMX, that is from 43,440 to 173,600 pesos as set by the Solid Waste Act.

To answer questions about the ban on single-use items, Sedema gave the number 5278-9931, extension 5470 and the e-mail [email protected]