The new Law 7/2022, on waste and contaminated soils for a circular economy, brings new requirements for the plastics industry, in particular applicable to packaging, as well as the definitive establishment of the tax on non-reusable plastic packaging, 'cuts the wings' to the marketing and consumption of single-use plastics.
Teresa Ribera, vice-president and minister for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, celebrated on March 31 the approval of the draft Law on Waste and Contaminated Soil for a Circular Economy. "We take a step forward in the modernization and circularity of our economy, in the ability to design things better to generate less waste and better manage those generated in a way that recovers their materials and allows us to reuse them in the new production chain. We are also taking a step forward in the fight against the invasion of plastic," said the vice-president.
Our country has a problem with its waste and a low recycling rate. According to Eurostat, the recycling rate stipulated by Brussels had to be 50% by 2020 and we reached only 36%. The next targets to be reached are far away if we do not act in time: 55% in 2025, 60% in 2030 and 65% in 2035, and the maximum landfill target of 10% in 2035.
One of the main points is the ban on the commercialization of single-use plastics, such as straws, cotton swabs containing plastic or beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene. Regarding bulk sales, the regulation establishes that supermarkets of more than 400 meters must allocate 20% of their surface area to the sale of products without packaging.
Food establishments selling fresh produce and cooked food must accept the use of reusable recipients and administrations must encourage the use of unbottled water through the installation of more fountains, and hotels and restaurants must serve unbottled water free of charge.
These regulations affect all members of society, especially companies, and the Law is committed to different alternatives. These measures range from reduction, awareness-raising, marking and eco-design to the use of economic instruments such as extended producer responsibility, including restrictions on certain plastic products such as cutlery, plates and straws, among others.
In addition, a state tax on non-reusable plastic packaging is also introduced to advance in prevention and in the reduction of its use in Spanish territory, thus promoting the first options of the waste hierarchy.
"All this changes and modernizes production chains, but also involves us as consumers in identifying and discarding those practices that are more harmful to the environment, such as the over-packaging of goods and products," Ribera also stressed.
Currently, many companies are carrying out sustainable actions focused on the 2030 Agenda. Now it is also our turn to do our bit by making changes in our consumption and way of life.