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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
Scope
Standard
Requirement
Proposed Date of Entry into force
Plastic straws*
-----
Prohibited
January 1, 2019
Biodegradable straws
  • AS 4736-2006
  • ASTM D6400
  • EN 13432
  • ISO 14855
Conform
January 1, 2019
*Exemption: Plastic straw which forms part of pre-packaged beverages or part of any other pre-packaged product

Table 1

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