Costa Rica’s Plastic Laws


Costa Rica – Plastic-related Laws

Ley para combatir la contaminación por plástico y proteger el ambiente, No. 9786 (26 Nov. 2019)

  • Plastic Bags and Straws

This law bans the sale or distribution of plastic bags by supermarkets and other retail establishments. Art. 4. The law allows for the use of biodegradable bags and reusable bags certified as having a low environmental impact and meeting certain design standards including at least 50% recycled content. Id.

The law recommends businesses incentivize customers to bring their own packaging, cloth bags, baskets, etc. to carry their merchandize away. Art. 10.

This law also bans selling or distributing plastic straws. Art. 3. The Minister of Health will define exceptions to the ban by regulation. Id.

  • Plastic Bottles

Article 5 requires importers, producers, retailers, and distributors of single-use plastic bottles to comply with at least one of the following:

a) Include a regulated amount of recycled resin in the bottle;

b) Establish a program for recovery, reuse, recycling, recovery of energy, or other waste recover methods;

c) Participate in a waste management program organized by sector or by product;

d) Develop or use products that minimize the generation of waste and facilitate recovery, or allow waste disposal methods that are less harmful to the environment and health;

e) Establish strategic alliances with at least one municipality to improve waste collection and management.

The law also authorizes development banks to create special programs to finance and support small businesses to develop programs for conservation, reduction, recycling, prevention, and conversion of industries manufacturing plastic products. Art. 2.

  • Waste Separation

Establishments that sell single-use plastic products must have containers to collect recyclable and non-recyclable waste separately. Art. 11.

  • Government Entities Prohibited from Buying Single-use Items

The law prohibits public administrative agencies, public companies, and municipalities from buying single-use plastic items including plates, glasses, silverware, straws, and other items used principally for the consumption of food. Art. 6. These entities may buy reusable, recyclable, recycled, bio-recyclables, or items with additives that reduce the fossil fuel materials. Id.

  • Education

The law requires education about integrated plastic waste management with emphasis on replacement, reduction and elimination of plastic to be added to the curriculum on waste management implemented under other laws. Art. 7.


Regula el Uso, Consumo y Etiquetado del Plástico de un Solo Uso, No. 014-MINAE (26 July 2018)

Under Directive No. 0-14 MINAE of 2018, the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Health must prepare technical regulations to include renewable, compostable and compostable in the marine environment as classifications in required labeling related to single use plastic products. Art. 1.

The Directive also instructed ministries to “abstain” from buying single-use plastic including expanded polystyrene for cafeterias and other food service facilities with in primary and secondary schools, health centers, and within the penitentiary system. Art. 2. The Directive allows for existing inventories to be used. Id. All ministries and institutions are required to follow guidelines and not acquire single-use plastics. Art. 4.

The Directive also requires several ministries to coordinate on an education program. Art. 3.

Finally, the National Environmental Council is instructed to work toward replacing single-use plastic products with renewable and compostable alternatives. Art. 5.


Prohibición que los Órganos del Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía y sus Proveedurías Institucionales Adquieran Productos de Plástico de un Solo Uso “Desechables” para el Consumo de Alimentos, No. 1 -2017

This Directive prohibits Institutions within the Ministry of Environment and Energy from acquiring single-use plastic (including expanded polystyrene) for use related to food consumption. Art. 1. This prohibition includes food provided through contracts for special events. Art. 2.