Congress debates the implementation of a system to return single-use beverage containers


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The project of Waste and contaminated soil law This Thursday receives a new impetus with the meeting of the working group within the Commission for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge. Thus, the different formations will begin to debate on the amendments that will be incorporated into the initiative launched by the department headed by the fourth vice president, Teresa Ribera.

The standard, essential to move towards a circular economy, transposes the European directives of 2018, of waste, and 2019, of single-use plastics with the aim of revising the law of 2011. In this way, it restricts the use for the first time from single-use plastics in Spain, such as cotton buds, bags, silverware, glasses and plates, straws, balloon sticks, tampons, or lids.

Likewise, the law establishes the obligation of new separate collections, among others, for bio-waste, textile waste and hazardous household waste. Regarding the separate collection of Plastic bottlesThrough a transactional amendment based on a proposal from the PSOE and United We Can, the rule will foreseeably introduce a relevant change during its processing in Congress, demanded by environmental organizations and which has been implemented in other European countries.

Its about deposit, return and return system (SDDR), a model that associates a value to each container in the form of a guarantee so that it is returned by the consumer for recycling, since the consumer will receive the money previously paid for said container. This system is already applied in more than 40 regions of the world with quite favorable recovery figures (between 80 and 95% in the Scandinavian countries, and 98.5% in Germany).

In addition to the parties that support the coalition government, partners such as EH Bildu, PDeCAT, ERC and Más País-Verdes EQUO have presented amendments in this regard. For this reason, a compromise amendment that raises the modification of the Article 59, relating to the “separate collection of plastic bottles”.

Along these lines, the text to which this medium has had access states that, to the separate collection objectives established in the bill (77% for 2025 and 90% for 2029) others are added: “At the latest in 2023, the 70% in weight with respect to that placed on the market “and” No later than 2027, the 85% in weight with respect to that introduced in the market “.

Likewise, a second section is incorporated in which it states that, in the event that those collection figures set for 2023 or 2027 at the state level are not met, “it will be implemented throughout the territory within two years“the SDDR in a way that guarantees the fulfillment of the objectives established in 2025 and 2029.

“For the implementation of these systems, in addition to plastic bottles, other containers and packaging waste may be included, so as to guarantee technical, environmental and economic viability,” the transactional amendment that foreseeably will go ahead is emphasized.


Carlos Rivas, a member of Ecologistas en Acción and representative of the Retorna collective (made up of various environmental organizations favorable to this return system) defends its implementation as an essential means to achieve the objectives set by the EU.

However, it shows its distrust in the face of the established deadlines, since the implementation of this model is subject to the fulfillment of the objectives of the separate collection of the bottles, currently in the hands of Ecoembes. “By 2023 it will be completely unfulfilled because currently the separate collection of containers is around 25%, with plastic bottles being a much lower percentage,” he explains.

Likewise, this non-compliance “would be proven in 2024 and, given a period of two years for its implementation, we would be late to meet the European objectives of 2025, so we will have safe sanctioning files“, he affirms in relation to the transposition of European rules.

Also, it shows your uncertainty in the face of royal decree on packaging and packaging waste open to public information at the end of September. This rule, which will be ready as soon as possible in the first half of 2022, will develop the determinations of the law and will specify the deposit system. “The packers are against the SDDR and what they want is to delay the approval of this royal decree, that there be elections and that the right wins so that it is not implanted,” he warns.


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