• Environment The Government approves a law on plastic waste without consensus that threatens "the competitiveness" of the agri-food industry


Law on Waste and Contaminated Soil for a Circular Economy

has entered into force after its publication this past Saturday in the Official State Gazette, except for the two new newly created taxes, whose application is postponed until 1 January 2023. With this, from this very moment, catering establishments must

offer free tap water

, as one of the measures to reduce the use of single-use bottles, and stores must encourage bulk purchases.

The rule was published this Saturday by the Official State Gazette and

came into force the following day,

except in regard to the Tax measures to encourage the circular economy' these two new taxes: the one for the production of single-use plastics and the deposit of waste in landfill.

The standard states that its purpose is to reduce the generation of waste and improve the management of those that cannot be avoided.

The first of

the taxes

will be applied to non-reusable plastic containers and the second to the deposit of waste in landfills, incineration and co-incineration of waste.

The special tax on plastics will be of an indirect nature to all containers that serve to contain, protect, handle, distribute and present merchandise, such as plastic cups or plastic rolls to pack and avoid breakage in the transport of products.

Thus, it will affect all containers that are manufactured, imported or acquired within the Twenty-seven and that contain non-reusable plastic, including their closures.

These taxes will be recorded with 0.45 euros per kilogram.

However, paints, inks, lacquers and adhesives designed to be incorporated into products intended to have the function of containing, protecting, handling or delivering goods or products are excluded from said tax, as well as those containers to contain, protect, manipulate , distribute or present medicines, health products, food for special medical uses, infant formula for hospital use or hazardous waste of health origin, as well as plastic rolls for silage for agricultural and livestock use.

The second of the taxes, on the deposit of waste in landfills, incineration and co-incineration, the Law qualifies this tax burden as a "key economic instrument to advance in the circular economy and in achieving the objectives for reuse and recycling in waste matter.

The aim is to discourage this practice in order to contribute to the reintroduction of waste materials back into the economy, such as recycled materials.

This tax caused

one of the biggest controversies

in the processing of the law in Parliament, since some autonomous communities such as Catalonia already had this fiscal figure.

Finally, after extensive negotiation, it will be articulated as an indirect tax that will be applied throughout the Spanish territory, although it is expected to be transferred to the autonomous communities.

The new standard establishes

waste prevention goals

to reduce its weight by 13% compared to that generated in 2010 in 2025 and 15% in 2030 and sets the challenge of halving the loss of food waste in 2030, while which removes VAT on donations of products to NGOs such as food banks.

In addition, it prohibits the destruction or elimination in landfill of surpluses that are not sold in non-perishable products, such as textiles, toys or electrical appliances, which will first be destined for reuse channels, including donation, or to preparation for its reuse.

Tap water and bulk consumables

On the other hand, to reduce the consumption of single-use containers, public administrations will

encourage the consumption of drinking water

with reusable fountains and containers, and hotel and restaurant establishments will have

to "always" offer

consumers or users of their services the possibility of drinking non-packaged tap water for free.

On the other hand, from January 1, 2023, food retailers with an area of ​​400 square meters or more will have to have at least 20% of their area dedicated to products without primary packaging, sold in bulk or in bulk. through reusable packaging.

In addition, they must accept reusable containers (bags, 'tuppers' or bottles) for whose good state of hygiene the user must be responsible and if not, the merchant may reject it.

The new Law includes the obligation of local entities to establish the

separate collection

of "at least", paper, metal, plastic and glass;

bio-waste (organic) before June 30 of this year in municipalities with more than 5,000 inhabitants and before December 31, 2023 for the rest;

textile waste, used cooking oil and household hazardous waste before December 31, 2024, the same as for furniture and fixtures waste.

An improper volume will be allowed in the case of bio-waste of up to 20 percent from this same 2022 and 15 percent from 2027, although that percentage may be reduced by ministerial order.

In total, in the year 2035, the percentage of municipal waste collected separately must be "at least" 50% in the total weight of all that is generated.

However, the law

allows the joint collection of some materials

since it recognizes that doing so separately would imply "disproportionate" economic costs, taking into account the cost of adverse impacts on the environment and health derived from collection and treatment. of mixed waste, the ability to improve efficiency in waste collection and treatment, revenue from sales of secondary raw materials, the application of the polluter pays principle and extended product liability.

Thus, it includes as objectives of preparation for reuse, that at least 50% of paper, metal, glass, plastic, bio-waste be destined for recycling;

70% of non-hazardous construction and demolition;

In 2025, at least 55% of municipal goods will have to be prepared for reuse and recycling and 60% in 2030, of which at least 5% of textiles, electrical and electronic equipment, furniture, among others, and 10% in 2030.

Plastic bottles must achieve recycling targets of at least 70% by 2023;

77% in 2025;

85% in 2027 and 90% in 2029 with respect to that introduced on the market.

In the event that these objectives are not achieved in 2023 or 2027 at the national level, a deposit

, return and return system for these containers

can be implemented throughout Spain that guarantees compliance with the objectives in 2025 and 2029.

Another novelty introduced by this law is the advance in the removal of asbestos in the country as a whole.

Specifically, in one year, that is, before April 10, 2023, the municipalities will have to prepare a census of facilities and sites with asbestos and a calendar that plans their removal, with a date no later than 2028 in the case of public places of greater risk affected.

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