Spain eyes new tax to rubbish plastic packaging

The move specifically aims to reduce the plastic cups and bottles used in the fast food and take-away sectors

The Spanish government on Tuesday proposed new legislation on rubbish that seeks to dramatically reduce single-use plastic packaging, notably by taxing it.

The move specifically aims to reduce the plastic cups and bottles used in the fast food and take-away sectors.

"If we add up all the waste generated in a year in Spain... it would be enough to fill up the Santiago Bernabeu stadium 2,900 times," said Environment Minister Teresa Ribera of Real Madrid's 80,000-seat stadium in the Spanish capital.

"And just the plastic packaging from our homes alone would fill up 45 such stadiums," she added, after the cabinet meeting at which ministers approved an extensive draft law on waste and soil contaminants to comply with European directives.

In summer 2021, certain products will be banned, such as cotton buds, plastic straws and cutlery.

A special tax on plastic packaging will be brought in by January 2023, meaning consumers will pay a little more for any take-away that includes a plastic container or cup, which will be itemised on the bill.

"The special tax on single-use plastic containers will be indirect and will impact the manufacture, import or acquisition within the European Union of non-reusable plastic containers for use within the Spanish market," a ministry statement said.

"This is a similar tax to that being implemented in other neighbouring countries such as the United Kingdom or Italy."

In imposing a tax of 0.45 euros per kilogramme (2.2 pounds) of packaging, the government hopes to bring 724 million euros per year into the state coffers.