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How Spain's new tax on plastics will affect you

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The Local ([email protected])
How Spain's new tax on plastics will affect you
As you might have already guessed, this will have a direct impact on shoppers as the costs are likely to be passed on to consumers and prices will rise. Photo: Pixabay.

From 2023, the Spanish government will introduce new taxes on plastics aimed at limiting single-use plastics and cutting waste generation in landfills. But what is the tax, the rationale behind it, and how will it affect customers in Spain?

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The Waste and Contaminated Soils Law is being brought in to try and decrease the use of single-use plastics, and to reduce the waste produced in landfills by 15 percent compared to 2010 levels.

The Spanish government hopes to cut the use of food containers and single-use plastic cups by up to 70 percent by 2030.

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Companies that use non-reusable plastic will also be required by law to pay an extra tax of 44 cents per kilogram, and landfill and incineration centres will be hit with a new tax that could range from €1.50 to 40 per metric tonne.

It also stipulates that food stores greater than 400 square metres in size must allocate 20 percent of their floor space to products without plastic packaging.

This step is thought to hit supermarkets particularly hard, who package the majority of their products in plastic.

READ ALSO: What are the recycling rules in Spain?

The collection of domestic bio-waste for towns with more than 5,000 inhabitants will also be expanded, as well as textile waste, used cooking oils, hazardous household waste and bulky waste from 2025. Bans on the destruction of unsold surpluses of textile products, toys and electrical appliances, and the intentional release of balloons will also be phased in.

How will this affect me?

Though the new taxes will be largely levied on all kinds of companies, the sector most likely to be impacted by the new legislation are supermarkets and the food industry as a whole, which have warned that the changes will increase production costs and could also result in lay-offs.

As you might have already guessed, this will have a direct impact on shoppers as the costs are likely to be passed on to consumers and prices will rise. This comes at the tail-end of a year or record-breaking inflation levels in Spain and across Europe, with consumer spending power on supermarket goods hit particularly hard.

Though inflation has eased somewhat in recent weeks and Spain’s IPC (the consumer price index) is below other major European economies, the rise in prices as a by-product of the new plastic taxes will likely hit hard as Spaniards move into the New Year.

READ ALSO: Spain’s July inflation rate reaches new 38-year high

The tax comes into effect from January 2023, so prices could first rise during the colder winter months as Spaniards struggle to pay cripplingly high energy bills.

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