Spanish Congress gives green light to waste law that bans single-use plastics

The standard sets targets for reducing this waste and offers indications for its management and treatment. In addition, it establishes a new penalty regime for littering and unauthorized burning of agricultural waste.

The Congress of Deputies has given its final green light to the Waste and Contaminated Soil Law for a Circular Economy, which sets new reduction targets and bans the sale of single-use plastic products, among other changes.

The regulation will enter into force as soon as it is published in the Official Journal and will replace the one on waste in force since 2011. This new law is the centerpiece of the regulatory package on the circular economy and waste, where in addition to updating the regulation on waste, responds to one of today’s main environmental challenges: single-use plastics.

It complements the work carried out throughout the legislature, in which, in addition to the Spanish circular economy strategy and its first action plan, six royal decrees on waste have already been approved.“, underlined the Vice-President and Minister of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera.


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The new law establishes new guidelines for waste management. On the one hand, new compulsory separate collections must be introduced for bio-waste, textiles, hazardous household waste, used and bulky cooking oils with a view to their subsequent differentiated treatment, either by preparation with a view to reuse, or by recycling .

In addition to those already existing for paper, metals, plastic and glass, the new law introduces a timetable for the implementation of this waste sector for its preparation with a view to reuse, recycling and recovery, according to the Miteco in a statement.

Thus, bio-waste of domestic origin must be collected separately from July 2022 in local entities with more than five thousand inhabitants; and from January 2024 for the rest of the local entities. In the case of textile waste, used cooking oil, hazardous household waste and bulky items, their separate collection must be put in place from 2025.

Limitations on single-use plastics

The new law ends the use of single-use plastics, with measures focused on reducing this material in packaging, raising awareness, branding and promoting eco-design. It will also limit the manufacture and use of certain non-reusable plastic products, such as cutlery, plates or straws, among others.

In this sense, the rule introduces a state tax on disposable plastic containers, to advance the prevention and reduction of its use in Spanish territory.

It also reinforces the actions aimed at tracing the management of the waste of this material, from its generation to its complete processing.

Other Law News

This new regulation also incorporates a review of the penalty regime, which includes new offences, such as the abandonment of scattered rubbish (detritus), the unauthorized burning of agricultural and forestry residues and the non-implementation of separate collections.

Finally, there is a specific provision on asbestos, which obliges town halls to draw up a list of installations and sites containing asbestos with a schedule for its removal. In addition, a tax is introduced – the application of which will depend on the autonomous communities – on the incineration and deposit of waste in landfills.


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