Chile passes single-use plastic regulation that will reduce 23,000 tons of plastic waste a year

"This law is ambitious, but at the same time it's realistic for where Chile stands regarding waste generation and its technical capabilities to make these changes possible."

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Image Credit: REUTERS/Cristobal Saavedra

The Chilean legislature unanimously passed a plastic regulation that ends single-use plastics within the food industry. The regulation is said to reduce the country’s plastic waste by 23,000 tons every year.

The new law will “reduce single-use plastic pollution by banning hard-to-recycle items from being served in restaurants or through delivery services,” EcoWatch said. Some of these items to be banned includes plastic plates, cups, straws, cutlery, to-go food containers, sachets, lids and stirrers.

“The approval of this project, supported across the board by parliamentarians and civil society, is a milestone in the care and protection of Chile’s environment,” Carolina Schmidt, Chile’s Environment Minister, said.

The law will also encourage the use of recyclable materials through the introduction of a certification for compostable plastics and mandates that “plastics earning this certificate be clearly labeled,” EcoWatch reported.

“After more than two years of hard work, we can celebrate a great victory for the environment, for Chile, and the entire world,” Mark Minneboo, regional director of Latin America for Plastic Oceans International, said. “This law is ambitious, but at the same time it’s realistic for where Chile stands regarding waste generation and its technical capabilities to make these changes possible.”

With the ultimate goal of the law is to transition the country towards a circular economy, Chile’s president is said to sign it into law and for it to take effect within six months for the smaller single-use plastic items, while the entire program will be implemented within three years.

“We can conclude that this law will change a paradigm, leaving behind a disposable culture by recovering what is reusable,” Javiera Calisto, Oceana Chile legal director, said.

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