Victory | May 20, 2021
Chile Protects Oceans from Single-Use Plastics, Mandates Refillable Bottle
The Chilean government unanimously passed an ambitious law reducing single-use plastic pollution from the food and beverage industries, following campaigning by Oceana. The law prohibits all eating establishments from providing plastic tableware, such as cutlery, straws, and Styrofoam utensils. It also requires delivery and take-out facilities to only provide disposable tableware made from materials other than plastic or made of certified plastic. The law requires stores to actively display, sell, and receive refillable bottles and will only allow single-use bottles if they contain recycled material that was collected in Chile. Refillable bottle systems are a pragmatic and immediate solution to decrease the 21 to 34 billion single-use plastic bottles that pollute the ocean every year. This legislation would not have been possible without a report by Oceana and Plastics Oceans Chile which found that over 23,000 tons of single-use plastics are used in restaurants, bars, cafes, and delivery food companies every year in Chile, as well as a report from Oceana on the benefits of using refillable bottles over single-use bottles. Most of these plastic items end up in landfill or pollute the ocean, where they can harm marine life and ocean ecosystems.