The Law has become an achievement on the fight against plastic pollution and can serve as an example for other Mediterranean and European countries.
There is not any other Law at international level which commits so firmly to waste prevention and to finish with the indiscriminate proliferation of single use products.
Palma, 29th of January
Today the Balearic parliament has approved the Waste and Polluted Soils Law. It is a pioneer Law throughout the world in proposing measures and concrete targets on waste reduction and the effective development of the extended producer responsibility principle.
The Law establishes, among other measures, a reduction target of 10% of the waste generated by 2021 and 20% by 2030 compared to 2010. To accomplish it, the distribution in the Balearic Islands of single use products such as bags, cutlery, plates, straws, and cotton bud and sweets sticks has been prohibited. The sale of products containing microplastics or nanoplastics or the non rechargeable and non reusable versions of lighters, shavers, printer toners and cartridges have also been prohibited. Furthermore, the Law advocates on the toxicity reduction of products with measures such as the prohibition of using dangerous cleaning products in public spaces.
According to Rosa Garcia, Director of Rezero, “The Balearic Law represents a major step towards the abandonment of the use and throw away culture which the current production model has brought us over the last decades. Finally we are moving from the 3R discussion, where the first R from Reduction was only discursive, to its materialization with specific targets, prohibitions and regulations on plastics and single use products”.
Another remarkable aspect is the commitment to boost reuse (last Friday was presented the Plan to promote reusable containers developed by Rezero for the Balearic Government with a reduction potential of more than 30,000 tones of packaging waste). This ought is specified with the establishment of a prepare for reuse target of 3% of municipal waste by 2025 and 5% by 2030.
Another key question of this Law is the development of measures to implement the extended producer responsibility principle, requiring transparency on data about products placed on the market, about waste generation and its management as well as the obligation for producers to cover 100% of the waste collection and management costs. It also determines the framework for the future implementation of return systems for specific products, for beverage containers for example, to favour the recuperation of high quality materials and to stop littering as a measure to protect the environment.
“These measures will suppose a substantial change on the production and management models as they obligate producers to guarantee specific environmental requirements and to assume the extended producer responsibility regarding the management and economic costs of their products once they become waste“ concludes Rosa Garcia.
Obviously, a pioneering law like this one, has incommoded some international and national economic sectors, that have repeatedly tried to reduce its ambition and forcefulness. Likewise, during the last years different entities we have worked and asked for the approval of a Balearic Waste Law which, just as it happens today, will suppose a radical change on the management model and natural resources consumption on the Balearic Islands. Rezero has contributed throughout the last years and during the public participation oversights to ensure that waste prevention had an important role in this new regulatory framework in the Balearic Islands. That is why the entity welcomes its approval and will continue working for its implementation and development in the short term.
Likewise, having achieved that the fight against plastics and single use products are on the political and public agenda, we will continue working to make Catalonia the next territory to take a step forward towards waste prevention and, following in the wake of the Balearic Islands, to process a Catalan waste Law that materializes the transition towards zero waste.
For Rosa Garcia, “Catalonia, which has been pioneer for many years in waste management, can not wait any longer to start the process of the new Catalan waste law. Both European regulations and the Balearic example are a great boost for Catalonia to be a reference again, in this case, in waste prevention and in the implementation of return systems and packaging reuse. We expect from the Catalan Parliament the same responsibility, courage and determination that the Balearic Government and Parliament have shown today.