Extended Producer Responsibility update: Spain

By Adam Jobling, Global EPR Researcher

 

Two draft laws going through the Spanish parliament are likely to lead to major changes in the country’s packaging regulatory framework.

 

The first of these relates to Waste and Contaminated Soils, which is intended to ‘establish the principles of the circular economy through basic legislation on waste’. One of the main ways of doing this is through transposing the requirements of the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive and aspects of the amended Waste Framework Directive. This includes, for example, an immediate ban on certain single-use plastic products and eco-design requirements for plastic beverage containers from July 2024.

 

However, the draft legislation also includes several policies beyond what is strictly required by EU law. Of particular importance for packaging companies is a requirement that single-use plastic containers, for the immediate consumption of food and drink, not to be freely distributed from January 1, 2023. Additionally, the introduction of a tax on producers of plastic packaging is also proposed.

 

According to the most recent draft of the legislation, any company that manufactures, imports, or acquires any of the following items will have to pay a tax of 0.45 euros per kilogram:

  • Non-recycled plastic contained in the product
  • Non-reusable plastic packaging
  • Non-reusable semi-finished plastic products intended for the manufacture of packaging
  • Non-reusable plastics used for the closure, marketing, or presentation of plastic packaging

The tax is a way of passing the costs of the EU Plastics Levy onto producers, where member states must pay a contribution to the EU budget of 0.8 euros for every kilogram of non-recycled plastic waste packaging in that country. As several states have still yet to decide whether they will pass this cost on, Spain’s approach provides a useful example of what this might look like in practice.

The second piece of legislation is the Draft Royal Decree of Packaging and Packaging Waste, which was released for consultation on September 28, 2021. Currently, the only commercial and industrial packaging in the scope of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations is packaging for phytosanitary products, but this proposed legislation would extend EPR to cover commercial and industrial packaging in general. Furthermore, obligated parties (packers of packaging) will be required to fund the total cost of managing the packaging waste that they produce.

 

The legislation would also include more targeted policies: retailers will be banned from using plastic packaging to package fresh fruit and vegetables below 1.5 kilograms, while beverage sellers will be required to offer reusable containers and producers of single-use beverage containers will be required to implement a deposit return scheme if separate collection targets are not met by 2023 and 2027.

 

Both pieces of draft legislation are progressing steadily through parliament, and both will have considerable ramifications for companies at all stages of the packaging supply chain.

 

The Global EPR team at ecoveritas has a detailed knowledge of regulations across the globe and, with our new international Packaging EPR Matrix, we can help you understand your obligations and avoid being caught out. Speak to us today to find out more information.

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