Single-use plastic has been banned in Chile as the country is shifting to a full environmental mandate with the goal of removing plastic from its waste stream.
Chile is the 6th most populous country in South America, and they're taking their environmental responsibility incredibly seriously.
Currently, the country is planning on focusing their efforts on removing Styrofoam to-go containers, cups, single-use plastic straws, cutlery, as well as plastic bottles across restaurants and grocery stores.
"The implementation of this law, one of the most ambitious in the world to combat pollution due to the indiscriminate use of plastics, is a milestone in the care and protection of the environment in Chile," says Environment Minister Marcelo Fernández.
According to the Environment Minister's office, the country produces over 23,000 tons of single-use plastic and polystyrene waste per year while also using 3.4 billion plastic bags annually. This is the equivalent of 200 per person. The Association of Plastic Industries says over 90% of this ends up in the ocean, causing millions of marine animals to die yearly from ingesting plastic.
"Plastic is destroying our lives; they are endocrine disruptors that pretend to be a hormone and cause false stimuli that produce various alterations and cancers. It also decreases the fertility of all living beings and of humans. Millions of tons, gigantic quantities that become true islands are falling into the sea, and it is a planetary challenge because they are made from fossil fuels, that is, they contaminate twice as much," - Senator Guido Girardi.