Travel Plastic Free : destinations that have banned plastic

You may have heard single-use was declared the word of the year 2018 by the Collins dictionnary.

The awareness about ocean pollutions went high last year, and more and more initiatives, bans, bills are being passed around the world to beat plastic pollution.

Single-use plastic items were pointed, not only in Europe, as one of the significant elements of ocean pollution. Plastic straws, stirrers, single-use cups, and bottles are at the heart of the battle.

Some countries are leading the way!

Here’s a selection of 8 eco-friendly destinations to visit that have banned plastic from their territory: an inspiration for zero waste travelers, and environmentally friendly adventurers.


Araba plastic ban

Announced in 2017, Aruba’s ban on single-use plastic items and Styrofoam boxes, is valid since the beginning of 2019, with a one year transition period towards a total ban.

Styrofoam boxes are a major issue across the Caribbean, and many destinations are seeking alternatives to this 100% fossil-fuel based packaging material.

Aruba is a leading destination regarding environmental preservation in the Caribbean.

Before this ban they already have other pioneering laws to protect their oceans and natural resources:

  • As of 2020, Oxybenzone sunscreens will be prohibited on the Aruba Island
  • The island also ambitions to be completely fossil fuel free by 2020


Dominica Plastic Ban

The island Nation also set in the Caribbean is nicknamed the Nature Island by many travelers. It is a sanctuary for sperm whales during their migration in the summer

Dominica’s ban on plastic is probably the strictest, but the island prides itself of wanting the lead the movement on environmental protection and climate change in the area.

The ban concerns Styrofoam packaging, plastic cutlery, straws, and cups.


Macchu Picchu plastic ban

Heading to Macchu Pichu? It will help if you read this.

It is now prohibited to enter this protected site as well as the Manu National Park, the Paracas Reserve or other Natural Spaces of the country with cups and single-use plastic bottles, Styrofoam containers, and plastic bags.

The decision announced through a Supreme Decree aims at

promoting responsible consumption of plastic and reduce the use of single-use plastic.

Several times, UNESCO pointed out that the plastic garbage on the Macchu Pichu was one of the major challenges the site needed to address to preserve the site


No plastic bags in Chile

During the summer of 2018, Chile became the first country of the South American Continent to ban single-use plastic bags

There will be transition periods up to two years for small businesses to stop importing and selling plastic bags. It is a major challenge for this country where only 4 % of the population recycles their waste.


Rwanda plastic free

Rwanda prides itself to be one of the cleanest countries in the world.

Rwanda was the very first country to put a single-use plastic ban in place, and that was before 2010.

When you arrive at the airport, you’ll see panels reminding you about the ban, and fines up to around 60SUD can apply.

By 2020 the country aims to be completely plastic free!

Bali, Indonesia

No plastic in Bali

Bali is officially banning straws, styrofoam, and shopping bags. Starting in 2019 the objective of the ban is to reduce Bali’s Marine Plastic pollution by 70% at the end of this year.

Businesses have a six month transition period to meet the new law requirements and offer alternative products to consumers.

Costa Rica

Plastic Free Costa Rica

This major ecotourism destination which aims to be carbon neutral by 2021, introduced a new challenge in its environmental protection policies

The countries goal is to become the first country to eliminate single-use plastic by 2021 completely.

The challenge has started with single-use items and bottles now banned from public institutions since 2018.

Koh Samet

Koh Samet Plastic Ban

The island of Koh Samet in Thailand banned plastic bags and Styrofoam packaging on its land since November 1 2018.

According to the national park’s chief, the 1.500 tourists that arrive each day consume eight plastic bags during their stay and leave them behind them.

This campaign organized to raise awareness among the national parks of Thailand aims at drastically reducing the plastic pollution in all 154 national parks of the country.


barbados plastic ban

Announced in 2018, the Barbados ban on Single-use plastic came into effect in April 2019 as far as importation is concerned. In 2020, the distribution and sale on the territory will be added to this first step.

The items concerned are cups, plate, cutlery, straws, egg trays, and Styrofoam containers.

Barbados aims to be plastic-free by 2020 and carbon neutral in 2030 and their Minister of Maritime affairs & Blue Economy said

We have said that we want to be fossil fuel free by 2030; we want to have a renewable platform; we want to be a country that when we speak to the world we speak as an environmentally friendly country and destination. These are the things that we must do if our words and our actions are to be aligned.

South Australia

Early June 2019, the South Australian State Government proposed a ban on single-use plastic items.

They are willing to ban plastic straws, cutlery and drink stirrers, but are also thinking of takeaway Styrofoam contains and cups as well as coffee cups and reusable plastic bags.

If the bill passes, South Australia would be the first state to have such a strong ban on single-use plastic items in the Country.

New Caledonia

plastic ban new caledonia

New Caledonia, officially banned single use plastic bags on August the 1st 2019. This is the first step of the territorie’s “Anti-Plastic Law” to which all single-use plastic items should be added by 2022.
The second step is planned for early September 2019 with the banne of cutlery, cups, plates and straws.
Food packaging and prepackaging will be the final step.

Plastic and single-use plastic bans are not only the focus of exotic destinations, more and more cities are also implementing individual bans.

  • As we all now in Europe, Single-Use plastics will be banned by 2021 . And some actions are already in place at city or country levels.
  • In North America, Seattle, WA. San Francisco, CA have banned plastic straws, while the States of New York and Hawaï are banning plastic bags.
Need a recap? Watch our 1 min video or share it with your friends

Ready to travel plastic free in 2019? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Holiable is an eco-friendly travel planner helping you find sustainable hotels, green restaurants and ethical tourism activities around the world. Holiable was developed to share experiences, advice and reviews on sustainable travel, making it easier to prepare your next eco-friendly holiday.
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