The WTO has circulated a notification from the Seychelles announcing a draft regulation to prohibit plastic straws and requiring biodegradable forms of these products to conform to prescribed standards. The proposed date of entry into force is January 1, 2019.

SAFEGUARDS | Hardlines NO. 145/18

SafeGuardS orig colorful palstic straws

On October 25, 2018, the World Trade Organization (WTO) circulated a notification announcing a proposal from the Seychelles to amend its Environmental Protection Act, 2016 (Act 18 of 2016). The draft regulation, attached to WTO document number 18-6702 and notified under G/TBT/N/SYC/4 [1], would ban plastic straws unless they are biodegradable, or form part of pre-packaged beverages or any other pre-packaged product. This prohibition would effectively include straws used in cocktails and other drinks but will exempt plastic straws attached to cartons of juice.

The latest proposal by the Seychelles is an ongoing effort by the island nation to reduce plastic waste. In June 2017, the Seychelles published two Statutory Instruments (SI) to prohibit plastic bags, plastic utensils and polystyrene boxes. These SI require the biodegradable form of these products to conform to prescribed international standards and direct the Bureau of Standards to validate Certificates of Conformity (CoCs) accompanying these goods (Safeguard 145/17 [2]). These became effective in July 2017.

Highlights of the proposal on plastic straws are summarized in Table 1.

WTO Document Number 18-6702, 25 October 2018
Environmental Protection (Restriction on the Manufacturing, Importation, Distribution and Sale of Plastic Straws) Regulations 2018
Proposed Date of Entry into force
Plastic straws*
January 1, 2019
Biodegradable straws
  • AS 4736-2006
  • ASTM D6400
  • EN 13432
  • ISO 14855
January 1, 2019
*Exemption: Plastic straw which forms part of pre-packaged beverages or part of any other pre-packaged product

Table 1

SGS technical experts have extensive knowledge and testing experience in materials and articles in contact with food. They work to ensure that your products meet the appropriate regulations for food contact materials and pave the way for compliance. From overall migration test to expert advices on emerging regulations and compliance issues and documentation review, SGS is the partner to trust. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or visit our website.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hingwo Tsang
Global Information and Innovation Manager
t: +852 2774 7420

Stay on top of regulatory changes within your industry: subscribe to SafeGuardS!

Read more articles for the Consumer Goods and Retail industry!

© SGS Group Management SA - 2018 - All rights reserved - SGS is a registered trademark of SGS Group Management SA. This is a publication of SGS, except for 3rd parties’ contents submitted or licensed for use by SGS. SGS neither endorses nor disapproves said 3rd parties contents. This publication is intended to provide technical information and shall not be considered an exhaustive treatment of any subject treated. It is strictly educational and does not replace any legal requirements or applicable regulations. It is not intended to constitute consulting or professional advice. The information contained herein is provided “as is” and SGS does not warrant that it will be error-free or will meet any particular criteria of performance or quality. Do not quote or refer any information herein without SGS’s prior written consent.