SAFEGUARDS | Hardlines NO. 019/16

SafeGuardS plastic bag

Mauritius has recently amended regulations on the prohibition of plastic bags by exempting biodegradable and compostable plastic bags designed to carry goods purchased at a point of sale. These plastic bags are required to be in conformity with prescribed standards. This amendment took effect on 1 January, 2016.

In August 2015, Mauritius promulgated the ‘Environment Protection (Banning of Plastic Bags) Regulations 2015’ [1] prohibiting the use of plastic bags with or without handles or gussets for carrying goods purchased at a point of sale such as a wholesale or a retail outlet, a market, a fair and a hawker. This law does not apply to Rodrigues, an outer island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. It also exempts plastic bags designed and intended for a list of essential uses. Businesses qualifying for these exemptions must register with the Director-General of the Mauritius Revenue Authority.

On 4 December 2015, Mauritius published Government Notice No. 233 of 2015 [2] amending ‘Environment Protection (Banning of Plastic Bags) Regulations 2015’. The ‘Environment Protection (Banning of Plastic Bags) (Amendment) Regulations 2015’ has a number of important changes, including:

  1. Exempting biodegradable and compostable plastic bags.
  2. A manufacturer of biodegradable or compostable plastic bags must conform to the applicable standard (Table 1).
  3. An importer of biodegradable or compostable plastic bags must apply to the Director for clearance one month prior to the shipment of the goods and submit an original or certified copy of the certificate of conformity (COC) testifying that these products are in compliance with an applicable standard (Table 1).
  4. Inclusion of non-woven polypropylene bags in the definition of plastic bags

The law banning plastic bags and its amendment took effect on 1 January, 2016.

Highlights of the list of applicable standards for biodegradable and compostable plastic bags and the list of exemptions for plastic bags for certain essential uses are summarised in Table 1.

Table 1

Government Notice No. 153 of 2015 ‘Environment Protection (Banning of Plastic Bags) Regulations 2015’ and Government Notice No. 233 of 2015 ‘Environment Protection (Banning of Plastic Bags) (Amendment) Regulations 2015’


Applicable standard


Biodegradable plastic bags


ASTM D5338-15

The following plastic bags are exempted from the ban:

  • ŸPlastic bags for agricultural or waste disposal purposes
  • Plastic bags for carrying personal belongings by passengers entering the country
  • Plastic bags for sampling or analysis purposes
  • Transparent pocket type bags that are ≤ 300 cm²
  • Transparent resealable bags with a security tamper used by passengers at an airport or on board of an aircraft
  • Transparent roll-on bags solely used to contain fresh, chilled or frozen seafood, meat, poultry or offal other than canned food or eggs
  • Biodegradable and compostable plastic bags (these are required to conform to the applicable prescribed ASTM, EN or ISO standards)

ASTM D5988-12

ASTM D6340-98

ASTM D6954-04


EN 13432

EN 14046

EN 14047

EN 14048


ISO 14851

ISO 14852

ISO 14855-1

ISO 14855-2

ISO 15985

ISO 17556

Compostable plastic bags


ASTM D6400-12


EN 13432

EN 14045

EN 14995


ISO 16929

ISO 17088

ISO 20200

Effective Date: 1 January, 2016

SGS offers a wide range of paper and packaging testing services, including Vibration, Shock, Stacking & Compression and Environmental Conditioning, Chemical, Biodegradability. Our laboratories are accredited to ISO/IEC Standard 17025 and are ISTA, NMFC and UN/DOT Third Party Certified to conduct Distribution Performance Tests on filled packages and Physical Characteristics Tests on Packaging Materials and components in accordance with ISTA, ASTM, NMFC, TAPPI and UN/DOT testing procedures and methods. Besides, SGS can also support the environmental improvement of your packaging thanks to the life cycle assessment methodology. For further information, contact us or visit our website.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hing Wo Tsang
Global Hardlines
t: +852 2774 7420

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