Friday, January 28

Europe banned single-use plastics years ago, Spain has not yet implemented it: what has become of the famous ban and what can we expect

I don’t know if you remember that before the pandemic, Europe had decided to ban the use of single-use plastics. It did, in fact. And for weeks we dedicate dozens of articles to gloss the death of straws, cotton buds, lids, tampons, bags or cutlery, glasses and plates. However, and although many actors have advanced that decision, the truth is, today, in Spain that 2019 directive is not transposed.

The 2018 waste directive is not transposed either. In fact, the law that regulates these things is from 2011 and its outdatedness seems to condemn the country to breach the European objectives on waste. In other words, for the Commission, in what has almost become a small tradition, to open a disciplinary file for us. So we have asked ourselves, What was all this? How are the ban on single-use plastics in Spain?

What’s going on with the plastics ban and everything else?

A few months ago, the Government finally brought the ‘Waste and Contaminated Soils Law’ project to parliament and now the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge Commission is working on the latest amendments in order to fix the final text. This means that, finally, after years of waiting, in the coming months it will be resolved how the use of single-use plastics remains in our country (straws, cotton buds, lids, tampons, bags, cutlery, glasses or plates).

The Law also has to promote separate waste collection that right now it would be around 25% (very far from the Community objectives) and, more specifically, it has to tackle the problem of bottles.

Therefore, some amendments contemplate the introduction of a “deposit, return and return system for plastic bottles” similar to the one already in place in many European countries with very good results (between 80 and 95% of collection in Scandinavian countries, and 98.5% in Germany). In other words, each container will have an associated value as a guarantee that will be returned to the consumer if they return it for recycling in the indicated places.

However, all this is still rumors, amendments and positions. The complexity of the European legislative process brings us back again and again to problems like the current one: we have the public debates years before that legislation reaches the national parliaments and by then the subject seems old and a thing of the past.

Image | Jasmin sessler