Katharina Brand-Haushofer

Published on 8. May 2023

Updated on 17. October 2023

International

EPR

Table of contents
  1. RecycleMe offers service as an "authorised representative"
  2. Overview of further innovations

Packaging law in Spain

Reading time: 3 Minutes, 15 Seconds

Issuance of a royal decree with new targets for packaging recycling

In Spain, the regulations for packaging and packaging waste were revised at the end of last year. For the first time these regulations now also apply to commercial and industrial packaging, and not only to household packaging as before. In the future, all packaging on the Spanish market will be subject to system participation, not only that from the household sector. This means that all packaging must participate in a collection and recovery system, also known as a Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO).

The new regulations are based on the goals of the European Union from the circular economy package and set benchmarks for the years 2025 and 2030, in which higher recycling rates for single-use plastics are to be achieved. In 2030, the number of single-use plastic bottles put on the market is to be reduced by 20% compared to 2022.

RecycleMe offers service as an “authorised representative”

Companies that sell their products on the Spanish market must register in the public manufacturer register “Registro de Productores de Producto” and ensure the separate collection of used packaging by participating in a take-back system. Originally, the deadline for registration in the producer register was 29.03.2023, but the ministry has now opened this deadline until further notice in order to be able to include as many producers as possible in the register. After registration, each company is assigned a corresponding register number.

Companies that only have a registered office outside of Spain must appoint a Spanish authorised representative for registration in the register. RecycleMe offers the “AuthoriseMe” service for affected companies and assumes the legally secure fulfilment of all obligations associated with the packaging regulations for its customers.

Manufacturers and distributors of packaging on the Spanish market must also comply with further deadlines that regulate the quantity reporting of their packaging data via the packaging register:

  • Reporting of packaging data from 2021 until 31 July 2023
  • Reporting of packaging data from 2022 until 31 October 2023

Overview of further innovations

The revised Ordinance contains further requirements for manufacturers and distributors of packaging.

  • Promotion of the sale of unpackaged food: Retailers are obliged to offer fresh fruit and vegetables unpackaged. However, there are some exceptions, e.g. for containers of 1.5 kg or more, for highly perishable fruits or for organic products.
  • Increase the share of reusable packaging and set reuse targets by product category: Depending on the product category (e.g. bottles, cups, or general packaging), distribution channel (hotel, restaurant, catering or household), type of packaging (household, commercial or industrial) and size of the sales area, reuse quotas are set.
  • Establishment of a minimum proportion of recycled plastics (recyclates) in packaging to promote recycling, with the quota to be calculated by type of plastic from 2025 and only valid per type of packaging from 2030.
  • Extension of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and the cost structure: e.g. incentivisation models based on eco-modulation criteria or the inclusion of littering costs and the costs of establishing a new separate collection structure in the packaging take-back tariffs.
  • For reusable packaging, targets were defined according to the distribution channel. In retail where food is offered unpackaged, the use of reusable containers must be accepted; for a sales area ≥ 300m², reusable packaging must also be offered.
  • In addition, depending on the sales area, a minimum number of reusable beverage containers must be offered for purchase:
    • from January 2025, at least 4 to 7 reusable beverage brands must be offered in shops ≥ 300m².
    • from January 2027, at least 1 to 3 reusable beverage tokens shall be offered in shops < 300m².
  • Introduction of a deposit system:
    • Targets for the collection of PET bottles have been set for 2023 and 2027. If these are not met, the mandatory introduction of a deposit system within 2 years for SUP beverage packaging (bottles, cans, brick) is foreseen.
  • Fight against misleading labels: Terms such as “environmentally friendly” or “sustainable” will be banned on packaging; instead, there will be detailed labelling obligations as in other European countries from 2025.

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