Chile is taking this planet seriously. After banning single-use grocery bags back in 2018, the country has decided to up the ante. Now, a law eliminating single-use plastics is about to take effect. Starting at the end of this year, all restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and other food businesses will stop allowing customers to take home plastic cutlery, straws, stirrers, chopsticks, cups, and takeout boxes. This ban includes Styrofoam items as well.
All businesses are still permitted to operate with nondisposable products or non-plastic disposables. This could mean bamboo cutlery, aluminum, paper, or cardboard. In terms of plastic bottles sold in stores, there is a solution for that too. Both in-person and online sales of disposable plastic beverage bottles will also require all stores and grocers to sell and receive returnable bottles.
Minister of the Environment Carolina Schmidt says this is "a milestone for the care and protection of the Chilean environment."
"It is a responsible bill," continued Schmidt, "but an ambitious one that allows us to be accountable for over 23,000 tons of single-use plastics a year generated by businesses such as restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and delivery services."
With complete and total backing by the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, and the Ministry of the Environment, this is a big step in taking a step back from destroying the Earth. For Chileans, this cultural shift will be a big help in terms of waste reduction for future generations.