Spain will impose minimum prices for plastic bags and ban the sale of lightweight oxo-degradable bags from 2018 under a law drafted by its agriculture and environment ministry.
The draft stipulates a minimum price of €0.10 for bags of up to 30 microns, €0.15 for heavier bags and €0.30 for oxo-degradable bags over 50 microns. Bags of up to 15 microns used for the sale of loose food will be exempted.
If applied, the minimum charges would cost consumers an estimated €788 million at 2014 levels of consumption.
The measure, which implements an EU directive on plastic bags, aims to reduce consumption of lightweight plastic bags by 30% by 2025.
The draft also creates a national register of producers and includes labelling requirements to aid the separation of compostable and non-compostable plastic bags.
The law will not require parliamentary approval because it does not include fiscal measures, a ministry spokesman told ENDS.
Environmental NGO Ecologistas en Acción described the draft as “timid and lightweight given the range of proposed measures included in the directive”. It called on Spain to follow the example of other member states such as France, which have introduced prohibitions, and set a more ambitious target to reduce plastic bag consumption.
The NGO also noted that if Spain followed the example of Portugal and Ireland by introducing taxes on plastic bags, it could generate revenue for investment in environmental protection.
The published draft is similar to legislation previously proposed by the Catalan regional government.
“A tax on plastic bags is not necessary. Charging for bags in large supermarkets has reduced consumption by 50% since 2007 and what is required is a signal enabling neighbourhood shops also to charge their customers,” a Catalan waste agency spokeswoman told ENDS.