Spain takes step towards circular economy with new waste law

by Lorraine Williamson
bottled water

The Law on Waste and Pollution aimed at boosting Spain’s circular economy entered into force on Sunday following its publication last Saturday in Spain’s Official Bulletin BOE.  

From now on, catering establishments have the obligation to offer tap water free of charge to their guests. This is in order to reduce the use of disposable bottles. Shops must also encourage wholesale purchases.  

The aim of the new law is to reduce the production of waste in the first place. But also to improve the management of waste that cannot be avoided. And to reuse more recycled materials in the circular economy. The introduction of the two new taxes – on single-use plastics and on landfill and co-incineration of waste – has been postponed until 1 January 2023.  

Tax on plastic 

The tax applies to all packaging used to package, protect, distribute and deliver goods. This includes plastic cups or plastic rolls used for packaging to prevent breakage during the transport of products. In concrete terms, this means all packaging manufactured, imported or purchased in the EU-27 that contains non-reusable plastic, including the closures. These taxes amount to €0.45 per kilo.  


The tax does not apply to types of paint, ink, varnish, and glue used in packaging. Nor does it apply to protective material, in the treatment of products, or in the distribution of products. Packaging of medicines and medical devices, food for medical use, infant formulae for use in hospitals or hazardous medical waste are also excluded. The same applies to plastic round silage bales used in agriculture and cattle breeding.  

This tax will also be introduced on 1 January 2023 

The second tax that will be introduced on 1 January 2023 is the tax on dumping and (co-)incineration of waste. This tax is described in the law as an ‘important economic instrument to promote the circular economy and the achievement of waste reuse and recycling targets.  

Also read: Spain introduces food waste law

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