New waste law – high fines for smoking on the beach in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
waste law

MADRID – With the new waste law, the Spanish government wants to end the pollution of coastal areas by cigarette butts. There will also be a deposit system for the purchase of plastic bottles or soft drinks in cans. 

The government approved the new waste law in parliament on Thursday with the priority aim of reducing pollution. Moreover, the new waste law is an open fight against plastic. Furthermore, the law prohibits the use of one-piece plastic (cotton buds, straws, disposable cutlery …) and also contains high fines of up to €2,000 for smoking on the beach. 

The law, which should have entered into force in July to comply with the European directive, has received 742 amendments. Other articles in the law will also be enforced, such as the levy for plastic takeaway packaging in 2023 or a tax on plastic. 

It is one of the most amended regulations in the legislature, along with the Climate Change and Energy Transition Act. This received 757 amendments in its first pass through Parliament. 

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Furthermore, the standard includes objectives that affect everyday life. For example, bars and restaurants are obliged to provide free tap water to customers who request it. Also, retailers and catering establishments will start charging plastic cups and containers for takeaway and fast food from 2023. 

PSOE and Unidos Podemos, PNV, Más País and Teruel Existe voted in favour, VOX and ERC voted against and PP, Cs and Bildu abstained. According to José Ángel Alonso (PP), the ruling parties have taken the opportunity to include measures that penalise companies, but the law is needed to “comply with Europe and get European funds“. 

Smoking ban on Spanish beaches 

From the entry into force of the law, smoking on the beaches is prohibited. This will be punished with a fine of up to €2,000. The purpose of this is to combat pollution from cigarette butts and ash in the marine environment. 

The introduction of this important measure is part of an amendment to Más País – Verde Equo, although the government has already advised municipalities to promote smoke-free beaches based on the latest anti-smoking strategy. Fines can be up to €2000. 

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