Puerto Rico Plastic Bag Ban
To help diminish the environmental impact that plastic bags have on our island, the government of Puerto Rico signed Act 247-2015 into law in 2015, for it to go into effect on January 1, 2017.
There are many environmental benefits of reducing plastic in our oceans and landfills but one that is particularly relevant to Puerto Rico is the impact that plastic bags have on sea turtles. A small inconvenience for shoppers can have a large impact on the environment.
Don't Forget Your Reusable Bags
From now on, be sure to have a resuable bag with you when you go shopping to avoid buying more at the store. However, if you find yourself at the checkout without a bag most stores will sell paper bags or a thicker-plastic option that can be reused. The goal of charging even a small fee (which is also required in the law) is to encourage consumers to reuse the bags they already own.
Switching to a bagless society can be a challenge, especially for smaller stores that need to find alternate bag options for their customers. With over a year to prepare, retailers will be switching to reusable bags between January 1 and June 30, 2017. After the six month period, businesses will have to pay a $100 fine for a first offense, $150 for a second offense, and $200 for each subsequent violation. The money collected by the fines will be sent to the Special Fund for the Reduction, Reuse and Recycling of Solid Waste under the Solid Waste Authority.