Costa Rica to Ban Single-Use Plastics by 2021

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Pollution in the seabed because of humans

Single-use plastics pose a serious threat to our planet.

These petroleum based, disposable products take up about 10% of the discarded waste in landfills and the majority of waste that washes up on shorelines. Plastics are durable; they are so durable they do not decompose over time. Instead, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics which stick around for 400 years. They contain carcinogenic, neurotoxic, and hormone-disruptive chemicals that pollute our oceans, which we rely on as a species.

  • 70% of the oxygen we breathe is produced by marine plants.
  • 97% of our water supply is contained in oceans.
  • 85% of fish caught is for human consumption.

That means we consume those harmful chemicals in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. It also has a significant impact on wildlife as well as the earth’s climate. Researchers estimate at least 100,000 marine animals die each year from plastic consumption. 30% of the CO2 emissions we produce get absorbed in the oceans, but when they are clogged with plastics that number decreases.

Costa Rica is setting an example as environmentalists.

To fight this worldwide epidemic, the Republic of Costa Rica is working towards eliminating single-use plastic products by the year 2021. People from both the public and private sectors are working together to eliminate plastic store bags, straws, coffee stirrers, containers, plastic cutlery, and other such products from the country entirely.

Costa Rica is a world leader for environmental matters. In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans to become carbon neutral by 2021. They also rely on renewable energy, frequently going 2 months at a time without the use of fossil fuels. The government is also active in restoring forests and protecting wildlife while the private sector in the country has become the world leader in eco-tourism.

In a joint statement made by Environment and Energy minister Edgar Gutiérrez, Health minister María Esther Anchía, and resident representative for UNDP Costa Rica Alice Shackelford, they ask everyone– “women, men, boys and girls”– to participate in their efforts to reduce plastic consumption and preserve the environment. Even if you don’t live in Costa Rica, it’s easy to do your part.

How you can reduce plastic waste:

  • Bring reusable bags to the grocery store and stop using plastic ones altogether.
  • Stop buying bottled water. Use a water filter and reusable bottle instead.
  • Buy refillable containers for soap used around the house: hand soap, dish soap, laundry detergent, etc.
  • Stop using straws
  • Avoid #3(pvc), #4(ldpe), #5(pp), #6(ps), and #7 plastics, which are not readily recyclable.
  • Bring your own to-go mug or cup to coffee shops.
  • Don’t buy disposable dishes or cutlery.
  • Ditch disposable razors in favor of a safety razor.
  • Start using reusable glassware instead of plastic food containers.
  • Buy in bulk.
  • Opt for matches over plastic butane lighters.
  • Return plastic containers for things like berries and tomatoes to your local farmer’s market for sellers to reuse.
  • Invest in reusable snack bags instead of ordinary zip-top plastic ones.

At Number8, our team is made up of employees in Louisville, Kentucky as well as Costa Rica. Our team travels to Costa Rica both for business, and for pleasure. We appreciate Costa Rica’s environmental efforts and try to do our part here in the States as well. If you are looking to learn more about our company, and the work we do in Costa Rica, and in America, give us a call today at (502) 890-7665!