Costa Rica’s road to decarbonization and improved ecological sustainability took a significant leap forward as the country passed a law that will prohibit the import, distribution and sale of expanded polystyrene packaging, better known as Styrofoam, in most cases.
Law No. 9703 will ban Styrofoam “in any commercial establishment,” though it makes exceptions for the packaging of household appliances, certain industrial uses and other cases in which the use of alternative materials is not viable.
The law will begin to be enforced in July 2021, 24 months after it was signed on Monday.
In the meantime, Costa Rica will “promote and encourage” the development of more environmentally friendly packaging alternatives, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.
The Ministry of Health will also develop a national plan for replacing polystyrene packaging with containers made from different materials.
“We are demonstrating to Costa Rica that we are going to fight to protect citizens’ fundamental rights, such as the right to health, and at the same time, we are sending a clear message that these actions respond to the unequivocal commitment that this administration has the decarbonization of the economy,” said President Carlos Alvarado.
Polystyrene is generally considered non-biodegradeable and can cause significant health problems for animals that accidentally ingest it.