A year after Chile became the first nation in South America to ban plastic bags, the Minister of Environment said the country avoided the consumption of over 16,000 tonnes of plastic in twelve months. The new law made the number of plastic bags produced annually in the country drop by 2.2 billion.

Chile banned plastic bags in August 2018. Big retail companies had six months to adapt to the new rule while small business was given a two-year deadline until the total ban applies to them.

Chile’s law is seen as an opportunity for pulp and paper producers. Santiago-based CMPC recently presented to investors a plan to invest in three new converting lines for paper bags in the country, adding 115 million bags/year.

Plastic bans are booming in Latin America, with bags and straws as the main targets of new laws that aim to reduce single-use plastic in the region. Chile also has a public campaign against plastic straws. Recently, government authorities said the country was able to reduce straws consumption by 350,000 items in the last 11 months.