Rwanda has become the first regional country to ban all single-use plastics, giving retailers three months to clear their stocks and find alternatives while industrial users and producers of single-use plastics have a two-year deadline.

Wrappers, plastic carry bags, plastic containers, bottles, straws, plastic cutlery, folders, and balloons are all affected by the ban while plastic duty-free bags are now banned from being imported into the East African country, the East African reported.

In 2008 the first law was first adopted against plastic bags but in August this year a new law was gazetted adding new plastic items to the list of plastics deemed equally harmful to the environment.


Failure to adhere to the law will attract hefty penalties or even revocation of trade licences.

Rwanda is not the only country taking action against plastic. 

Antigua and Barbuda banned plastic bags in 2016 and shortly after that Colombia followed suit with a similar mandate to sharply reduce their plastic use. The South American nation began by banning plastic bags smaller than 12 x 12 inches. Colombia then issued a tax for larger plastic bags, including grocery bags, while mandating that such bags be designed with re-usability in mind.

Zimbabwe banned the use of polystyrene in 2017.


The South Pacific island nation of Samoa moved to ban most single-use plastics in 2018