October 12, 2021
by Raissa Havens, Regulatory Specialist, UL’s Supply Chain team
With the goal of protecting the environment and reducing waste, Chile passed Law 21368 on Aug. 6, 2021, banning single-use plastic items in the food sector and encouraging stores to offer and accept returned beverage containers.
Chile had already banned commercial plastic bags in stores on Aug. 3, 2018, through Law 21100, and has now taken a step further toward a more circular economy. Costa Rica is another country that sought to protect the environment, having banned plastic bags to the final consumer in commercial establishments as well as single-use plastic straws and bottles through Law 9786 in force since Dec. 6, 2019.
The ban in Chile applied to restaurants that provide single-use products for food consumed within the establishment; outside the establishment, disposable products that restaurants provide must be made of materials other than plastic. Law 9786 established that restaurants can use certified plastic, defined as plastics that totally or partially consist of materials made from renewable resources. The certification must meet the requirements under Article 10 of this Law.
Some of the newly regulated products included are cups, cutlery, stir sticks, lids (except for plastic bottle lids) and containers for prepared food.
This law also regulated disposable plastic bottles and dictated that by 2025, at least 15% of all plastic collected and recycled within Chile must be incorporated into disposable plastic bottles. That figure jumps to 25% by 2030. The regulation did not require imported bottles and small beverage-producers to comply.
The responsibility for overseeing compliance with this law falls to each municipality, however anyone can report noncompliance.
The Ministry of Environment will implement environmental education programs aimed at citizens to foster awareness of the impact of single-use products as well as to promote reusable and returnable product use.
This law will take effect in phases from the date of publication, Aug. 13, 2021, as follows:
- Six months for single-use products made of expanded polystyrene
- Six months for supermarkets to offer and accept returnable bottles
- Two years for beverage vendors to offer and accept returnable bottles
- Three years for establishments to offer reusable products inside their premises
- Three years for restaurants that provide delivery services to offer single-use products made of materials other than non-certified plastics
- Three years for at least 30% of the bottles being displayed at the point of sale in supermarkets to be returnable bottles
Recommended action item
If your company manufactures or imports single-use plastic products in Chile, ensure that your products comply with the new law and look for ways to reduce plastic use and reuse products.