National Assembly approves draft Law that regulates the use and commercialization of single-use plastic products
The National Assembly approved with 129 votes, the bill that seeks to reduce the use and trade of single-use plastic material such as bags, straws, containers for beverages and food, the same that will have a cost for the user.
The project is called the Organic Law for the rationalization, reuse and recycling of single-use plastics in commerce, which also includes fines for minor, serious and very serious infractions contemplated in the Organic Code of the Environment, ranging from a unified basic salary to 200 unified basic salaries.
The Law establishes a progressive reduction in the use of plastic that goes from one to three years, although citizens are left free to decide whether to use plastic bags or containers, but they must pay for their use. Municipal Gads are included in campaigns to reduce the use of plastic in the country.
Within a year, the marketing and use of plastic bags and containers for drinks and food for human consumption will be prohibited. The use of single-use plastic bags or wrappers for the delivery of printed advertising, newspapers, magazines and other written press formats will also be prohibited; receipts for public or private services; account statements and all information directed to consumers, users or citizens in general.
Likewise, the manufacture and import for internal consumption, distribution, commercialization, delivery and use of single-use plastic straws will be prohibited.
As of the second year of the effective date of the Law, the manufacture and importation for internal consumption, distribution, commercialization, delivery and use of single-use plastic bags that do not contain the minimum percentage of transport will be prohibited in the country. post consumer recycled material in composition.
The manufacture and importation for internal consumption, distribution, marketing, delivery and use of containers or containers and glasses that come from polystyrene, be it expanded, extruded or foam, for food and beverages for human consumption that do not contain the minimum percentage, will also be prohibited. of post-consumer recycled material in its composition.
In the third year of validity of the Law, the manufacture and import for internal consumption, distribution, commercialization, delivery and use under any modality, of bags, single-use plastic wrappers, whose manufacture does not contain the percentage of recycled raw material indicated in the approved Law.
As well as the manufacture and import for internal consumption, distribution, marketing, delivery and use of plates, glasses and other utensils and single-use plastic tableware for food and beverages for human and animal consumption, which are not recyclable or reusable and whose manufacture does not contain the percentage of recycled raw material indicated in this law.
During the transition periods and except in cases of sanitary emergency decreed by the National Government, it will be prohibited, in the places of sale of goods or products, as well as in home delivery, the free delivery of bags, containers, tableware and utensils and other single-use plastic objects. The establishments or businesses will charge an amount not less than the unit cost or single-use plastic item that they provide to the consumer.
Prior to the delivery of single-use plastic items to the consumer, establishments or businesses have the obligation to check whether or not customers wish to receive these goods or products and, in turn, report their value.
Exceptions in the use of plastic
Excluded from the prohibitions established are plastic bags and packaging that constitute the primary packaging of food in bulk or of animal origin, in addition to those that for aseptic reasons are used to contain food or wet ingredients prepared or pre-prepared, according to the regulations techniques issued by the governing ministry of public policy on the environment.
Also excluded are single-use bags and containers whose purposes or reasons are cleaning, hygiene, personal care or health, according to the technical standards issued by the governing body of the environment.
Polymeric-based straws attached to containers or products, which are marketed as a sales unit with a maximum capacity of 300 ml and which can be recycled with the container, are also excluded. In exceptional health emergency conditions declared by executive decree and temporarily, packages and containers that allow keeping healthy conditions and protect the population from viral and / or bacterial infections may be excluded, according to the conditions established by the governing body of public health.
In the case of other products with plastic components such as wet towels, sanitary napkins, tampons, balloons, disposable products such as lighters, razors, supplies for printers and photocopiers, within 6 months they must be labeled so that consumers are warned of the negative impact generated by the abandonment of these components in the environment by not using adequate waste recycling systems.
The organizers of public events will be responsible for the collection and handling of plastic waste generated by the event, according to the provisions issued at different levels of government; and, they will coordinate their final disposition with the corresponding municipal GAD.
Supermarkets, neighborhood stores, hardware stores, pharmacies and other commercial establishments will have, in visible places, reusable bags for sale.
Commercial establishments cannot prevent users from using reusable bags from other brands to carry their merchandise, nor may they refuse to pack the products in bags bearing the logos of another establishment; nor can they force users to buy reusable bags with their brand. The businesses must inform the user of the price at which they will sell the reusable bags. Biodegradable bags can be delivered as a free and last resort alternative to bulk, individual or medicinal products.
With this regulation, the reduction of waste generated by the use of plastic products that affect the environment and human health is declared of national interest.
The use of single-use plastics has become a deeply ingrained custom in the country, so during the debate it was determined that it is necessary to promote a gradual elimination of these, so that the public becomes aware and at the same time replaces disposable products for biodegradable or environmentally friendly options. This requires specific planning headed by the National Environmental Authority.
Given the analysis of the situation of the population, the request of manufacturers and marketers of plastic products and the general public, it has been seen the need to adjust the established deadlines for the progressive reduction of the use of single-use plastics, considering times prudent so that manufacturers, distributors, importers and marketers, can adapt to the proposed changes and the demands that the care of our common home demands. In this sense, the exceptions set for the use of this type of plastics specifically for health and food purposes are maintained and also some conditions for the sale of single-use plastic articles during transition periods. (I)