Chile becomes the first Latin American country to ban single-use plastics

Chile becomes the first Latin American country to ban single-use plastics | Marca Chile

The regulations will come into force at the end of the year. The move represents a new milestone that reinforces Chile’s commitment to environmental care and protection.

According to a study carried out by Oceana and Plastic Oceans, food premises and food delivery services generate 23,240 tons of single-use plastics per year in Chile. This figure is equivalent to the weight of 116 blue whales or five Olympic swimming pools full of waste. And much of this waste ends up contaminating the ocean.

However, a recently approved bill is aiming to provide an urgent response to this problem in Chile by banning and limiting the distribution of single-use plastics and other disposable items in food sales outlets and food delivery services. These items include cups, cutlery, plates and straws, among many others.

For food and drink that is to be consumed within the establishment, single-use products will be prohibited, regardless of the material they are made of and only reusable products will be allowed. Meanwhile, home delivery services that offer pre-prepared food will also be banned from using plastics, except where they are certified as compostable. Furthermore, plastic bottles will have to be made out of plastic that has been collected and recycled in Chile.

Chile currently recycles barely 4.5% of the plastic that is used. This initiative, promoted by the Environment Ministry alongside civil society organizations and members of Congress, will therefore provide a considerable boost to the national recycling industry and, consequently, to the circular economy.

Chilean Plastics Pact

In 2019, Chile joined the Global Plastics Pact Network, which promotes the transition from a linear to a circular economy for plastics. It was the first and only Latin American country to join. The network’s mission is to turn the promises made by the different stakeholders within the plastics ecosystem into real targets. The network also comprises the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, South Africa, Portugal, the United States, Poland and Canada.

The law banning single-use plastics is one of the targets included in the 2025 roadmap drawn up by the Chilean Plastics Pact. Another of its targets is to ensure that a third of delivery and non-delivery plastic packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable and made out of 25% recycled material.

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