Plastic bags will cost a minimum of between 5 and 30 cents each depending on their characteristics: the cheapest -5 cents- will be compostable plastic bags with a thickness of up to 29 microns, followed by those of 30 microns or more. and those of 29 microns or more but not compostable -10 cents-, those of 30 microns or more not compostable -15 cents- and the oxodegradable ones of 50 microns or more -30 cents-.
The new regulation establishes that merchants will not be able to deliver light bags - with a thickness of less than 50 microns - free of charge to consumers at points of sale, with exceptions"According to the specific use, its compostability or durability", because its consumption produces "High levels of dispersed waste represent an inefficient use of resources and are likely to increase if measures are not taken."
Also exempt from this measure are bags of less than 15 microns used as primary packaging for bulk foods, while compostable ones will by law have a lower price than that established for conventional plastic ones.
The draft royal decree expressly prohibits the commercialization of oxodegradable light plastic bags due to "Damage to soils, water and organisms" that they generate since instead of decomposing they fragment into plastic micro-pieces that pollute the environment.
Consumption of plastic bags
European legislation aims to reduce the level of annual consumption to a maximum of 90 bags per person as of December 31, 2019 and no more than 40 as of December 31, 2025.
At present and according to various studies, up to 238 bags are used per person and each one takes about 400 years to fully decompose; Furthermore, only 10% are recycled, which generates around 100,000 tons of waste per year.
According to the data provided by the sector and included in the draft royal decree, only in 2014 62,560 tons of plastic bags of less than 50 microns were placed on the Spanish market, equivalent to more than 6,700 million units.
The new regulation also includes the obligation to launch awareness campaigns at least during the first year from the entry into force of the project, as well as to mark compostable bags.
In addition, the Registry of"Product producers" (REPP), attached to the General Directorate for Quality and Environmental and Natural Environment Assessment of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment (MAPAMA), which will collect information on the arrival of this type of items on the market.
The REPP was born in principle with three sections: a) producers of batteries, accumulators and batteries, b) electrical and electronic equipment, c) plastic bags.
Until December 31, 2017, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism will continue to exercise control of the products contained in the first two sections, but MAPAMA "Will assume the management of the mentioned sections" as of January 1, 2018.
To date, most Spanish supermarkets and department stores already charge for plastic bags, although there was still no specific prohibition in this field.