In order to fight pollution of the oceans, Panama adopted the UN recommendations by passing, last year, Act 1 of 2018, becoming the first country in the region to approve measures against the use of plastic bags.
This law granted a year and a half for the necessary adjustments, thus as of July 20th, 2019, the use of polyethylene in supermarkets, self-service, drugstores, and retailers is prohibited. Shops may offer for sale -at cost- or free reusable bags.
Prohibition excludes the following cases:
- When plastic have direct contact with food or wet supplies (eg. fruits, vegetables, meats, ice cream, among others);
- Garbage bags as they are not used to carry merchandise;
- Laundry bags;
- Bags for disposing of food containers (eg. use in restaurants); and,
- Packing material.
Those businesses breaching the ban might be sanctioned with monetary fines ranging from 100 to 500 dollars.