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Contact us if you are considering establishing a plastics manufacturing operation in Central America.
Various plastics manufacturers in Central America are experimenting with recyclable resins and biodegradable materials to change and to adapt to new markets and consumer demands.
Plastics are prominently in view every time that a shopper goes to a supermarket. Among the items in which plastic is found are vacuum packaging used for meat and sausages, bottles for water and soda, snack bags, ice cream containers, as well as the plastic bags in which groceries are carried home, to name a few. Since its discovery in the late 1800s, plastic has played an important role in modern life all over the world.
Although the use of plastic has resulted in the invention and introduction of a countless number of useful and quality of life-enhancing products, it has also been the source of a notable and growing global problem: pollution. Today, many countries are considering enacting policies that have been designed to reduce plastic’s negative effects on the environment by implementing new regulations in some cases and prohibitions in others. Governments and plastics manufacturers in Central America are among those that are currently addressing this trend.
Plastics Manufacturers in Central America are focusing on sustainability
Specifically, Costa Rica and Panama have moved towards a regulatory framework that will eventually ban the use of so-called “single-use” plastic products. As a show of its commitment to moving away from the production and use of these items, the Costa Rican Government has formulated a National Strategy for the Substitution of Single-Use Plastics.
The motivation behind the creation of the Plan is to empower Costa Rica’s productive sector to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics that are derived from oil that remain in terrestrial and marine ecosystems for many years. It is the aim of the Costa Rican government to replace these products with alternatives that are renewable and compostable. A similar approach is being considered by the Government of Guatemala.
Another country whose use and production of plastic has also been affected is El Salvador. The plastics industry in El Salvador is significant in terms of the overall value of its total exports. Salvadoran manufactured plastic products generated an export income that rose from US $392 million in 2018 to more than US $407 million the following year.
El Salvador is the second largest supplier of plastic products in Central America after the United States
The plastics sector in El Salvador represents an important 2.8% of the country’s manufacturing sector. The largest areas of production in Salvadoran plastics manufacturing are beverage bottles (23.7%), plastic bags (17.5%), plastic packaging (15.9%), plastic tableware (10.4%). Other miscellaneous plastic items represent 32.5% of all production. Salvadoran plastic manufacturers have become leaders in exporting plastic bags, plastic beverage containers, and plastic packaging to other countries in the region.
According to official data, the plastics industry in El Salvador generates approximately 10,000 direct jobs and between 75,000 and 80,000 indirect positions.
As home to many of the plastics manufacturers in Central America, the industry in El Salvador is represented by the Salvadoran Association of the Plastics Industry (Asiplastic). The organization is made up of 92 member companies that include packaging manufacturers, recyclers, and suppliers of machinery.
Asiplastic Represents El Salvador’s Plastics Sector
The president of Asiplastic, Ricardo Morán, maintains that although there are many plastics manufacturers in Central America, El Salvador’s sector is recognized to be the regional leader. As such, Asiplastic member companies make it a point to recycle all waste material that results from their manufacturing processes. Through its Plastics Recycling Program “Eco Amigos,” the Association is strongly committed to providing information to companies on how to separate and recycle plastic and to reconvert it into new products.
It is the goal of Morán’s organization to make the plastics sector in El Salvador into a clean and exemplary industry. The movement towards the production and use of eco-friendly products has opened up new opportunities for plastics manufactures in Central America as a whole, and in El Salvador specifically, to conduct innovative research and development aimed at producing recyclable resins and biodegradable materials.
Alex Torres, who is in charge of innovation and development for Central America, the Caribbean, and South America at Carvajal Packaging stresses that the movement towards recycled and biodegradable materials is not a new development According to him, plastics manufacturers in Central America have been looking for solutions and new formulas for manufacturing their products for years. He stated that “During the last five years, we have become very conscious of the concepts of eco-friendliness and sustainability.”
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