Oceana Sues Chile’s Largest Supermarkets for Failing to Provide Consumers with Refillable Beverage Bottle Options - Oceana

Oceana Sues Chile’s Largest Supermarkets for Failing to Provide Consumers with Refillable Beverage Bottle Options

Press Release Date: August 24, 2022

Location: Santiago, CL

Contact:

Gillian Spolarich 202-467-1909
  • According to Chile’s new law, supermarkets must provide customers with returnable beverage bottle options in stores and online.
  • An Oceana investigation finds Jumbo and Líder fail to provide consumers with refillable beverage bottle options online.

Oceana, the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation, filed a lawsuit today against Chile’s two largest supermarket chains Jumbo and Líder for failing to provide consumers with refillable beverage bottle options on their online platforms, which is now required by Chile’s new law on single-use plastics.

“It’s imperative for companies to comply with this new regulation to reduce disposable products and increase the use of refillable bottles,” said Javiera Calisto, Oceana’s Legal Director in Chile. “We’re calling on large supermarket chains to comply with this new law and offer consumers refillable bottle options on their online platforms. Sixty-three percent of Chileans make their purchases online, so holding retailers accountable is more important than ever,” she added.

The lawsuit, which was filed with the Local Police Court of Providencia, follows an investigation by Oceana that found neither supermarket chain currently sells refillable beverage bottles on their online platforms, failing to comply with Law 21.368. Signed into law in August 2021 and officially in effect since February 2022, this law specifies that all supermarkets with more than three checkout points must offer and receive refillable beverage bottles in their physical locations, as well as on their online platforms. Failure to do so will result in a fine ranging from 1 to 20 UTMs (between $67 and $1,330 USD) for each day the retailer is found noncompliant.  

“Refillable bottles create less plastic waste, have a lower carbon footprint, and save consumers money,” said Calisto. “This is why it’s essential for supermarkets to make refillable bottles available to consumers on their online platforms.”

Oceana says refillable plastic bottles can be reused about 15 to 20 times, while glass can be used over 30 times. The reuse culture is already prominent in Chile. In fact, Chile’s use of refillable bottles accounts for 37% of the market in Latin America, a figure that should considerably increase once this new law is fully enforced because it will require all supermarkets, grocery stores, and convenience stores to have at least 30% of their beverages offered in refillable bottles.

Other aspects of the law:

In addition to the refillable bottle requirements, the law prohibits all food establishments from providing plastic tableware including cutlery, straws, and plastic foam foodware. It also requires delivery and take-out facilities to only provide disposable tableware made from materials other than plastic or made of certified plastic. 

In 2024, the law will ban the provision of disposable products made of any material for consumption inside food establishments – restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream parlors – while all plastics for takeout or delivery will be banned, except for certain products that will have to be made of plastic that is certified by the Ministry of Environment. These regulations will also be enforced in government facilities.

The law first originated after Oceana and Plastic Oceans Chile released a study that revealed Chilean restaurants, bars, cafes, and delivery food companies use over 23,000 tons of single-use plastics every year.

###

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit www.oceana.org to learn more.