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Unions warn of damages due to the Single-Use Plastics Law

Trade unions are concerned about the major requirements of Law No. 21,368 that regulates the delivery of single-use plastics and plastic bottles.

The regulations, enacted in 2021, and which came into effect in February 2022seeks to protect the environment, reduce waste generation and limit the delivery of single-use products in food outlets.

Through a letter sent on April 5 to Minister Álvaro Elizalde of the General Secretariat of the Presidency, the National Chamber of Commerce (CNC); the Santiago Chamber of Commerce (CCS); the Federation of Tourism Companies of Chile (Fedetur); the Chilean Gastronomy Association (Achiga); The Chamber of Shopping Centers, and the Association of Graphic Industrialists (Asimpres) warned of the effects of the regulations.

“Our country does not have the capacity or the supply enough suppliers or certifiers to meet the significant demand for certified plastic that the gastronomic industry will require in the context of limiting the delivery of single-use products. This situation will lead to the sector having to look for international suppliers that are subject to the requirements of certified plastics in Chile, which will obviously require various negotiations and time,” stated the letter to which it had access. Pulse La Tercera.

The president of the Achiga, Máximo Picallo, calculated millions in damages and requested to postpone the greater requirements established by the regulations from August 2024. From that date, the law orders that no food establishment will be able to use products that are not reusable, that is, not only is it prohibited to inside the premises the use of any plastic product, but also any other material that is not reusable.

“We have a law that is backward, because the Ministry of Environment did not generate the regulation in February of last year and today it is just published so that the actors can make inquiries,” he explained to Pulso La Tercera. “The law will cost US$30 million annually to the gastronomic sector, and in September with the inns they will realize that it is very Taliban,” he added.

Through the Lobby Law, Achiga has met with representatives of the Ministries of Economy and the General Secretariat of the Government. Next week he plans to meet with authorities from the Ministry of the Environment. The union is being advised by José Domingo Ilharreborde, partner at EI Abogados, who has participated in the hearings.

After the discussion of the bill in 2022, Achiga presented two studiesone from Quiroz y Asociados that addresses the economic impact and another that talks about the environmental repercussions, from Dictuc.

The president of the Chamber of Shopping Centers, Katia Trusich, agreed with her counterpart from Achiga and said that the implementation of the law should be postponed. “We think that more time is required for this law to come into force, since the regulations are missing and, consequently, there are several aspects of the regulations that are unknown. We support the spirit of the law, caring for the environment and adopting new habits in favor of sustainability, but this law means a big change for the gastronomic industry, which is key for shopping centers. More time is required to clarify inconsistencies and prepare for this transformation that involves many operational changes.”

He also said that together with the Achiga, the CNC, the CCS, Fedetur, the Chamber of Shopping Centers and Asimpres, they asked the government to postpone the entry into force of this law for 18 months.

“Shopping centers are currently meeting spaces, in which restaurants, gastronomy and food courts are very important. The law will mean several changes in operational terms and for tenants in this area. But more than that, because the shopping center sector is dynamic and adapts to transformations, the concern lies in the little time there has been to apply new regulations in which several inconsistencies are seen. For example, differences are established between the materials that could be used in delivery and those that could be usedr in a food court. It seems incomprehensible,” she concluded.

“The Single-Use Plastics Law is a great tool for caring for the environment, however, its article 3 has problems, I think it should be improved, given that the impact of said law was not studied at the time. rule, in that by prohibiting single-use products, and not just plastics, water consumption increases, when Chile is in serious drought. The impact on health, due to poor washing of dishes, or the increase in detergent in the sea and, consequently, its chemicals, was not reviewed. And the worst thing is that, as it is a ban on products, it will seriously affect inns, traditional fairs and other small tenants who deliver single-use products, for example, anticuchos on wooden sticks cannot be delivered, nor can sushi sticks. , among several others,” said Javier Naranjo, partner at Jara del Favero.

María Teresa Vial, president of the CCS, said that “we hope that the entry into force of the law will be postponed in 18 months, and that the possibility will be incorporated that the indicated establishments can deliver biodegradable materials for consumption on the premises, encouraging the innovation in materials other than plastic, which are a contribution to society and a new source of employment.”

In relation to this demand from the affected sectors, the Ministry of the Environment (MMA) indicated to Pulso La Tercera that “at a global level we face a pollution crisis, especially for plastics. That is why, as a country, we are moving forward in passing a single-use plastics law that seeks to reduce the use of disposables in food outlets. The law clearly states that implementation is gradual, and we have seen how it has already been done. are doing successfully some food courts in shopping centers in the capital, which indicates that we are on the right track. We hope this continues to move forward.”

The law contemplates sanctions that vary between one and twenty Monthly Tax Units (UTM) depending on the type of infraction and the product marketed, which will be applied by the Local Police Court of the commune where the establishment is located, while the inspection It will be the spring of the municipalitiess and any person may report non-compliance with the regulations.

The gradual nature of this law provides a period of three years for its complete implementation; However, there are provisions that came into effect in 2022, such as the prohibition on the delivery of expanded polystyrene (plumavit) and also light bulbs, stirrers, cutlery (fork, spoon and knife) and chopsticks, all made of single-use plastics. . In addition to this prohibition, all supermarkets will be required to sell drinks in returnable format and receive such containers from people. A supermarket will be understood as any commercial establishment with three or more checkouts enabled for payment. “This allows, in addition to protecting the environment, to reduce costs for people, since they are more economical,” stated a statement from the MMA time.

In the case of delivery services, starting in 2024 they can only use certified plastic utensils and packaging, that is, they are made from renewable resources and can be composted. The above also applies to consumers who remove food from the premises.

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