Source: World Economic Forum

Chile will become the first nation in the Americas to ban retail businesses from using plastic bags. Politicians in the country’s House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to pass a law that would come into force in a year’s time for retailers and in two years’ time for smaller businesses. In total, 134 voted in favour and there was one abstention.

Chile’s President, Sebastián Piñera, stated:
“We have taken a fundamental step to take better care of Chile and the planet. Today we are more prepared to leave a better planet to our children, grandchildren and the generations to come.”

At first, the measure to ban plastic bags in Chile was only planned for Patagonia. Last September, former president Michelle Bachelet announced the idea while addressing the United Nations General Assembly: “We are going to present a bill that will ban the usage of plastic bags in coastal cities within the next 12 months.” She also emphasized the country’s need to take responsibility for their part in climate change and Chile’s need to change its own production models.The country’s current president, Sebastián Piñera, then expanded the idea to the entire country after assuming his position.

The ministry has launched a website,, to help educate citizens about the new law and to recognize the members of Congress who have been working towards the measure for the last decade.

According to the Association of Plastic Industries, Chile is using 3,400 million plastic bags per year, or 200 per person. It takes only a minute to produce a single plastic bag, and each one is used, on average, for fifteen-to-thirty-minutes. They then each take approximately 400 years to degrade!

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