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Chile: more commitment to environmental care

Chile has a new helmsman, Gabriel Boric. The 36-year-old legislator and former student activist is the youngest President in the country’s history and also its most left-leaning since 1973.

It was in March that he assumed the presidency of a country facing several critical issues: a vote to approve or reject the new constitution that will be the guide for the coming years; an escalated conflict with the indigenous peoples in the so-called southern macro-zone; immigration that has reached historic levels; and an economy damaged by the remnants of the pandemic.

As noted in the Mirror report last October, the Chilean economy was making a great recovery, albeit not very sustainable as it was boosted mainly by post-COVID fiscal aid packages and by withdrawals of pension savings that helped to break domestic consumption records last year. As a result, scarcity of supply added even more fuel to inflation and today we are reaping its effects.

On the other hand, and continuing the process of previous governments, the country is advancing the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). It is expected that the Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs) will give their first reports on fulfillment of goals during January 2023 for tyres and September 2023 for packaging containers. This undoubtedly brings an additional boost and opportunities in terms of recycling in this country since, from 2023, there will already be an obligation to take responsibility for waste.

Also, this government promises to be much more committed to caring for the environment. A few weeks into his mandate, President Boric signed the Escazú Treaty - a regional agreement on access to information, public participation and justice in environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Regarding the performance of the recycling sector, the vast majority of the industries in our association continued to experience good results during this year’s first quarter. Even so, production costs - mainly labour - have risen significantly since July last year, thus generating much concern given that hiring is becoming more difficult by the day. In the export sector, the main headache continues to be maritime freight but, to date, commodity prices continue to be the main export driver.

We have seen difficult years, and the roller-coaster ride continues. It is precisely at these times that we must work collaboratively and seek to develop our country’s maximum potential.