A Guatemalan Town Bans Plastic - With Amazing Results!

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San Pedro La Laguna, a Guatemalan town on the shores of Lake Atitlán had a plastic problem.

The popular lake was becoming polluted and filled with plastic and Styrofoam, damaging its fragile ecosystem.

So in an unprecedented move, the town's leaders decided to ban all single use plastic bags, Styrofoam, and other items, working with the locals to source and develop reusable replacements.

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Today, the locals - who are mainly Tz’utujil Maya - use paper. cloth napkins, and leaves to wrap tortillas and meat at the grocery store and reusable woven rubber bags to carry their goods home. Paper straws are used instead of plastic as well.

If you break the "no-single use plastic" rule, relatively harsh fines are imposed - which seems to be keeping things in line according to the town's municipal planning director, Victor Tuch Gonzáles.

Learn more about how San Pedro La Laguna handled their problem and became more eco-friendly at Atlas Obscura.