On May 21, 2021, news organization EcoWatch reported the Chilean legislature unanimously passed what is being seen as one of the world’s most comprehensive single-use and recycled plastics regulations. The new law will ban all single-use styrofoam containers, stop restaurants from providing single-use products when food is being consumed within the establishment, compel supermarkets and convenience stores to always offer returnable beverages and accept returned containers, and all disposable bottles produced in the country will be required to contain a percentage of plastic collected and recycled within Chile.
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera is expected to sign the bill within the next few days. The ban on styrofoam and small single-use plastics such as cutlery, stir sticks, and straws will come into effect within six months. Supermarkets will also need to develop their beverage bottle return system within the same six-month period. All other changes will be phased in over the next three years.
According to research by Oceana and Plastic Oceans, Chile currently produces over 23’000 tons of single-use plastics from grocery and restaurant services each year. Javier Calisto, Oceana‘s marine pollution campaign manager, commented that “without a doubt, with this law not all plastics disappear, but those that most affect our coasts, seas and their species do… Now its implementation begins and we must continue working to make it a success.”
Olivia Rosane (May 21, 2021). “In Historic Move, Chile Unanimously Approves Ambitious Single-Use Plastics Law.” EcoWatch
Plastic Oceans International (May 20, 2021). “Chile aprueba Ley que Regula Plásticos de Un Solo Uso.” (in Spanish)
Ministerio del Medio Ambiente (May 20, 2021). “Aprueban ambiciosa ley que prohibirá los utensilios y envases plásticos de un solo uso.” Chile Circular sin Basura (in Spanish)