Final approval of the new Waste Law in Spain

Congreso de los Diputados

The Spanish Congress has given the definitive approval to the Law 7/2022 on Waste and Contaminated Soils, which is the main piece of the national regulatory package on the circular economy and waste. This new law will involve the creation of two new taxes: one on single-use plastic products and another that taxes the deposit of waste in landfill, incineration and co-incineration facilities. Besides, the law includes the prohibition on the marketing of 10 single-use plastic utensils such as straws, cups and plates and establishes measures (such as bulk sale in large stores and obligation for bars to offer free tap water) to halve the consumption of single-use plastics in 2026 compared to 2022.

The tax on the deposit of waste in landfills and incineration arises from a recommendation that the Commission made to Spain in 2018 due to its very low recycling rates. The EU imposed more than a decade ago that all its members must recycle 50% of their municipal waste by 2020. But in 2020, Spain was at 36%, according to Eurostat data. The EU has set even tougher goals: 55% in 2025, 60% in 2030 and 65% in 2035.

The new waste law establishes that from July 2023 all municipalities with more than 5,000 inhabitants must have separate collection systems for organic waste, in addition to paper, metal, plastic and glass —the smallest municipalities will have an extended deadline until 2024. Moreover, all municipalities must also have separate collection of textile waste, cooking oils, hazardous household waste and bulky waste before December 31, 2024.

This regulation gives a leading role to waste prevention measures, by including specific and quantifiable objectives: reduction in the weight of waste produced by 13% in 2025 and 15% in 2025 compared to those generated in 2010.

This law wants to step forward in the modernization and circularity of the Spanish economy, in the ability to better design products to generate less waste and allow better waste management.

Read the law: