Chile to introduce legislation to ban plastic bags

SANTIAGO – Chilean Environment Minister Marcela Cubillos says she will propose legislation to ban the use of plastic shopping bags to reduce waste.

“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 company could have when facing different regulations in each region,” said Cubillos.

Chile bans plastic bags in all coastal regions

According to the Chilean government, some 8 million tons of plastic waste find its way into the oceans along the 4,300-km coastline every year, polluting coastal regions and harming marine species.

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

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.