Chile may ban plastic shopping bags

May 1, 2018

Chile could be the first country in Latin America to ban the use of plastic shopping bags.

Plastic waste collected near a Chilean beach.

Chile’s Environment Minister Marcela Cubillos says she will propose legislation to the national congress to ban the use of plastic shopping bags.

“Currently, more than 55 towns have established regulations for the use or distribution of plastic bags, from a voluntary perspective. Through a general (national) law, the criteria will be standardized and we will avoid the problems that a manufacturer will have facing different regulations in each region,” said Cubillos.

According to the Chilean government, some eight million tons of plastic waste find their way into the oceans along Chile’s 4,300-kilometer coastline every year, polluting beaches and harming marine species.

In October 2017, then President Michelle Bachelet signed a bill that prohibits the sale of single-use plastic bags in 102 coastal villages and towns.

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The new bill proposed by Cubillos will also ban so-called biodegradable plastic bags, because their biodegradability under natural conditions cannot be certified by technical norms, according to a study released by the Environment Ministry.

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