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HomeTopicsEnvironment and WildlifeCosta Rica's Single-Use Plastics Ban Takes Effect

Costa Rica’s Single-Use Plastics Ban Takes Effect

The law that bans single-use plastics in Costa Rica comes into force on April 20th. This measure, approved in 2021, seeks to eliminate materials such as straws, plates, and cups that are quickly discarded. Data from the Ministry of Health shows that Costa Rica produces approximately 60 tons of waste of this material per day.

The law prohibits the commercialization and free delivery of single-use plastic straws throughout the country and prohibits the commercialization and free delivery of plastic bags to the final consumer in supermarkets and commercial establishments whose purpose is to carry goods to their final destination.

However, the prohibition of providing plastic bags will not apply to bags that can be reused and those that are small (45×60 cm), medium (52×68 cm), and biodegradable. The law also prohibits new acquisitions or purchases of single-use plastic articles by all public administration institutions, public companies, and municipalities.

The prohibition covers a wide range of items used for eating, such as disposable plates, cups, forks, knives, spoons, straws, and stirrers. Additionally, importers, producers, marketers, and distributors of single-use plastic bottles, or products packaged in such bottles, must meet specific requirements.

These include using a certain percentage of recycled resin, implementing effective waste recovery and recycling programs, participating in integrated waste management initiatives, developing products and packaging that minimize waste, and forming strategic partnerships with municipalities to improve waste collection and management systems.

Business owners stated that they were in a situation of uncertainty due to the lack of clarity in the rules and specifications of the new packaging required by law. They requested information on the technical specifications for replacing single-use plastics and stated that they are unaware of the technical regulations that must be issued in coordination with entities such as the Costa Rican Technical Standards Institute (INTECO) and the Costa Rican Accreditation Entity (ECA).

They also expressed concern about the lack of official information from the Ministry of Health on the requirements of the new packaging and the fear of being penalized or even losing their businesses for not complying with the regulations.

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