Spain will propose a new environmental tax which will be placed on single-use plastics, revealed the environment minister Teresa Ribera on Tuesday.
The new levy would be worth around 0.45 euros per kilogram, targeting plastic packaging and other items such as cups, plates and cutlery commonly used in the fast food and takeaway industries. Other items affected would be cotton buds and plastic straws.
The proposed bill will aim to phase out the use of single-use plastics by 2021. This is in line with the European Union’s target to reduce pollution and will mean consumers will most likely pay a little more for a takeaway that includes plastic containers, cutlery and cups.
When inspecting the most recent government data for 2017, Spain would have raised around 724 million euros from the new tax.
Following the weekly cabinet meeting at a news conference, Ribera said, "This is an indirect tax which will be levied on the manufacturing, import or intra-EU acquisition of the non-reusable plastic packaging used on the Spanish market".
"If we were to 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," referring to Real Madrid's 80,000-seat football stadium in the country’s capital city.
The ministry said that the new proposals were similar to those already being planned by other countries including Italy and the United Kingdom.
Although it is a step in the right direction in ridding the world of non-recyclable plastics, the new legislation still has a long way to go before it can be approved by Parliament.
Spain already lags behind many other European countries in terms of revenue raised from green taxes. In 2017 the taxes raised were the equivalent to 1.83% of the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) compared to the EU average of 2.40%.
The new tax will help to provide a new source of revenue for the government and reduce the budget deficit which has been heavily impacted due to the COVID-19 crisis.
January 14, 2021