Chile becomes first Latin American country to ban plastic bags

SANTIAGO – Chile has become the first South American country to legally ban the widespread commercial use of plastic bags.

“I want to share with you the joy that as of today we’re enacting the law,” said President Sebastian Pinera at a public ceremony in the centre of Santiago on Friday, after which he handed out cloth bags to passers-by.

Any form of plastic bags other than those constituting primary packaging “necessary for hygiene or to prevent food wastage” is prohibited.

Large businesses have six months to phase out the use of plastic bags, while smaller ones will be given two years to adapt to the new rules.

Those flouting the ban will be subject to a $370 fine, in a country where the minimum wage is just $800.

In the meantime the shops will only be allowed to hand out two carrier bags per customer.

Continue reading here: The Santiago Times

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