How often do we worry about the deterioration of the environment, the excessive use of energy, the mistreatment of animals, or the endless generation of waste which is neither re-used nor recycled, like disposable items and plastics? One of these waste materials that we have constantly available is plastic bags. They are very useful and are given out right and left, even to the point when we are just buying a liter of milk which we could just as easily carry in our hand.

Surely you have seen these bags on the ground near your house, flying around, covering the sewer drain on your street, or adorning the grass in the park; but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many marine animals including turtles, dolphins, seals, pelicans, and cormorants, to name a few, die from asphyxiation, toxicity, ingestion, or entrapment caused by plastic bags which reach the sea. And it gets more complicated, because the plastic in the bags does not decompose, and because of that, we only get the luxury of seeing them separate into tiny fragments that never disappear. This process takes from 150 to 500 years. Imagine all the generations after us who will have to find their way around and live in a plastic world!

On a worldwide level, 500 billion plastic bags are discarded each day. This is an alarming statistic and necessary in order to change our current consumption habits and improve environmental and human health. It is from this premise that the SACA TU SABUCÁN YUCATÁN (get out your sabucán) campaign was born, whose objective is to motivate people to use their sabucán (the colorful plastic mercado bags) to reduce plastic waste and thereby improve the environment in our “colonias” and neighborhoods.

We love promoting the use of the sabucán to carry your purchases, but it also rekindles a tradition. Many of us (Yucatecans and Mexicans) can picture our grandfather or grandmother using their sabucán to go to the mercado. But it also reminds us of an intelligent old custom that will help us to diminish the use of plastic bags in the future; although the sabucán is also made from plastic, it is very durable and can be used many more times than the bags they give you at the supermarket.

As soon as we initiated the SACA TU SABUCÁN YUCATÁN campaign, other groups instantly joined in, such as Parque Aak and Mérida Verde, and then Doña Way, Yaxunah Comunidad Educativa, Colectivo Ciclo Turixes, and globetrotters. We seem to have infected a lot of people, and SACA TU SABUCÁN YUCATÁN has become stronger, not just in Yucatán but in other parts of México and the world! The response from people everywhere has been surprising and very motivating.

You can buy your sabucán in any mercado, for example at Mercado Lucas de Galvez in Mérida Centro.

We invite you to “like” our Facebook page “Saca tu Sabucán Yucatán” where you can share your comments, experiences, and photos using your sabucán! Follow us on Twitter @sacatusabucan and join this movement!

By: Claudia Chapa Cortés – Tsikbal Agencia Educativa Internacional; Nancy Walker Olvera – Parque Ecológico Aak

Ref.: La Jornada Ecológica (


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