SANTIAGO – In two weeks, plastic bags will officially be banned in Chile. Starting the 3rd of February, Law 21.100 prohibits plastic bags in all shops, supermarkets and stores throughout the country. A step that could be considered exemplary, as Chile will be the first country in Latin America to completely ban plastic bags.
If anything illustrates the global contamination of especially the ocean, it is the massive number of plastic humans produce and use. To halt that development and try to make a difference, decision-makers and governments must take the lead and change policies. Chilean lawmakers seem to understand this, and although the banning of plastic bags was already announced in August last year, in two weeks the law will officially be implemented.
Over the last six months, various stores and supermarkets already prepared staff and customers by limiting the use of plastic bags or by offering bags made from sustainable material. But in two weeks plastic bags at supermarket checkouts will be completely prohibited, regardless of the amount of products bought, with fines of up to US$360 per bag if ignored.
According to daily La Tercera, supermarkets such as Jumbo and Santa Isabel will continue to offer bags to their clients, albeit made of sustainable material. Lider Express, Ekono and Falabella will start using paper bags to serve their customers. Unimarc has said it will paper bags, cotton bags and bags made out of compostable material.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today.