24. November 2022
The new Law on Waste and Contaminated Soils to Promote the Circular Economy
(Ley 7/2022, de 8 de abril, de residuos y suelos contaminados para una economía circular) took effect on 10 April 2022. Amongst other reasons, Spain is responding to stricter European Union legislation that calls for a 60% recycling rate for municipal waste by 2030 and a 65% rate by 2035. In Spain, this rate was 36% in 2021. In order to achieve the EU objectives and to integrate the new European waste directives into the Spanish legislation, this new law has been devised.
What aspects have changed? For the first time, the Spanish legislation now includes the obligation of extended producer responsibility (EPR) for industrial and commercial packaging.
The new law has a direct impact on the production of plastic packaging, on plastic recycling and on the recycling industry in Spain. The intention of the Spanish government in this respect is clear: to promote the circular economy. To set this in motion, one of the key measure that the government is implementing is to use costs to drive forward this circular way of thinking. For example, starting from 1 January 2023, there will be a new tax on single-use packaging. Producers of plastic packaging will then have to pay a tax on new plastics at a rate of €0.45 per kilogram. Marketing for certain single-use plastic utensils such as straws, cups or plates will also be banned. The Spanish government will continue to levy a tax on the incineration and landfill disposal of plastic packaging. The proportion of secondary raw materials in new products is also regulated in part by a quota, according to which PET bottles must contain 30% recycled material by 2030.
Waste policy objectives in Spain are shaped both by national legislation and by the regulations of the 17 autonomous communities that follow them or that have transposed their own measures into regional law. For example, the city of Barcelona has set higher targets for recycling raw materials than is required by Spanish law.
The Royal decreto sobre envases y embalajes (Royal Decree on Packaging) expected by the end of the year will include the exact definitions for implementing the law as well as target statements on the prevention, reuse and recycling of packaging. The publication of this document also defines the exact start date for the packaging take-back systems.
Important steps on the way to achieving these goals are strengthening existing recycling structures and establishing new extended producer responsibility systems that operate recovery management on a national level. The industrial association Cicloplast, which was founded by plastics manufacturers, producers and processors, is actively involved in designing one of these recycling systems for industrial and commercial packaging. RIGK supports Cicloplast in an advisory capacity with its expertise in the development of take-back systems.
At the beginning of October 2022, Cicloplast launched the new take-back system Envalora. Envalora is the Spanish take-back system (Sistema Colectivo de Responsabilidad Ampliada del Productor (SCRAP)) for industrial and commercial packaging from the chemical, plastics, rubber and construction industries, to which more than 200 companies already belong.
In order to comply with the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), Envalora offers a solution for distributors of industrial and commercial packaging who will have to be responsible for organising and financing the disposal of the used packaging generated by these products from 2023 onwards. The system is expected to be operational by 2024. We will continue to report here on any future updates on the establishment of Envalora and RIGK’s involvement in this process.
Business Development Manager
Phone: +49 611 308600-56