Spain launches a pioneering plastic tax in the EU

By: News Team

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Spain launches a pioneering plastic tax in the EU

As of this January 1, the tax on non-reusable plastic containers begins to take effect in Spain, in a pioneering way throughout the European Union (EU), which will fall on the entire industry with a tax rate of 0.45 euros for each kilogram of this material manufactured or acquired.

This is one of the fiscal measures that have given more to talk about in recent months, promoted by the Government to encourage the circular economy and that depends on the law of waste and contaminated soils approved last April.

Its application comes just a few days after the Government has approved for its development the royal decree on packaging and packaging waste, which derives from the same law, and which aims to achieve a 20% reduction of single-use plastic bottles by 2030 compared to current levels.

The sector’s employers, the Spanish Federation of Food and Beverage Industries (FIAB), estimates that all these regulations, in total, can have an impact of around 7,000 million euros and threaten the survival of 2,400 companies and more than 25,000 jobs.

By July 2024 will be the entry into force of the European regulations that oblige manufacturers of containers with caps to be attached to the body to facilitate recycling.


With regard to the plastic tax, the FIAB estimates that the tax will have an impact of 690 million euros on companies.

The industry has spoken out against this tax, arguing that it will harm companies, which have already been hit hard by high interest rates and higher production costs, but also families, who will see the cost of the measure passed on in the shopping basket.

The different organizations of the sector have requested on multiple occasions a moratorium of at least one year in the application of this tax, without, for the moment, their clamor having been heard.

Brussels created in 2020 a new category of EU own resources based on national contributions calculated on the basis of plastic packaging that is not recycled; Thus, each country has to pay 0.8 euros per kilo of waste that is not recycled.

From there, each Member State has been implementing different measures, in some cases also tax, but which have not yet entered into force, which leaves Spain as the only EU country that applies a tax of this nature.


Apart from this fiscal measure, Spain has just completed the adaptation of its packaging waste regulations to the requirements of the EU, with the approval this week of the royal decree on packaging and packaging waste.

This regulation obliges the industry to reduce single-use plastic bottles, encourage the bulk sale of food or increase reusable packaging to boost the circular economy.

The FIAB has indicated that this decree will involve investments of more than 6,000 million euros in the next decade to be able to adapt to the new objectives and the fulfillment of “an extended responsibility of the producer taken to maximums”.

The director of Competitiveness and Sustainability of the employers, Paloma Sánchez Pello, has pointed out that it is an “unaffordable” investment for some segments and a threat to the competitiveness of many companies, most SMEs, and the employment they generate.

Under this Royal Decree, the producers who are affected will assume the total cost of managing packaging waste under an extended responsibility regime.

Food retailers whose surface area is equal to or greater than 400 square meters will have to allocate at least 20% of their sales area to the offer of products presented without primary packaging, including sale in bulk or through reusable packaging.

A bonus shall also be established for the producer when the product meets efficiency criteria, or a penalty when it fails to meet these criteria.

However, the FIAB has valued that some aspects of the regulations have been relaxed with respect to the original text, an opinion shared by Aurelio del Pino, the president of the ACES supermarket employers’ association, which includes Eroski, Alacampo, Carrefour and Supercor.

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