Panama’s Ban on Plastic Bags

Last year the National Assembly approved a bill prohibiting plastic bags, granting a 12 month period for supermarkets, pharmacies and retailers to adapt to the laws, now that period is almost up.

As of July 20, 2019, the grace period will be up and plastic bags (made from polyethylene) will not be provided by supermarkets, pharmacies and retailers, in compliance with Law 1 of January 19, 2018, a law governed by the Consumer Protection and Defense Authority of the Competition (Acodeco).

A grace period of 24 months has been extended for warehouses and wholesalers, meeting these deadlines on January 20, 2020, respectively.

Recently, a resolution was published that pertains to domestic manufacturers and importers of plastic bags in Panama. The document indicates that domestic manufacturers and importers must demonstrate, prior to commercialization, compliance with this normative document, through a certified copy by the General Directorate of Standards and Industrial Technology of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

According to Law 1 of 2018, merchants may choose to charge or reusable bags. In the case they decide to apply charges to consumers, Acodeco must check that it is at cost annually.