#58. MARCH 2019

Baleares was the only Autonomous Community lacking a Waste Act. Recently, the Parliament of the Balearic Islands passed the Balearic Islands Waste and Contaminated Lands Act. This pioneering legislation at national level in Spain, which has been echoed in other countries, prohibits single-use plastics and sets quotas for waste prevention and preparation for reuse. It also establishes a “pay-as-you-throw” system, as the most effective tool to increase recycling rates and pay for services associated with waste management.

The first Balearic Islands Waste and Contaminated Lands Act was passed a few weeks ago by the Parliament of the Balearic Islands. The legislation features pioneering measures in Spain, which seek to combat problems that cause environmental havoc, such as littering in the natural environment. Balearic Islands Act 8/2019, of February 19, on Waste and Contaminated Lands sets ambitious targets in the areas of recycling, reuse, waste prevention, food waste, prohibition of single-use products…

“The targets set out in the new legislation go further than those established by the European Commission. The aim is that, by 2021, waste generated will have been reduced by 10% with respect to 2010, through the implementation of these targets, and by 20% by 2030. To achieve this, it will be necessary to substitute many single-use plastic products with more sustainable alternatives. These include plastic crockery, drinking straws, cotton swabs for ears, and lollipop sticks”, explains Vicenç Vidal, regional minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries of the Government of the Balearic Islands. Other products have been added to these as a result of over 800 contributions to the Draft Bill during the period of public consultation, including trays used to package food products, which must be compostable by 2021, and the plastic six-pack rings used for cans or bottles of beverages, which will have to made of biodegradable material by 2021.

The disappearance of single-use plastic bags, provided for in the Act, has also been endorsed by the European Strategy for Plastics presented by the European Commission. By January 1, 2021, only very light compostable plastic bags will be permitted, provided that they are used exclusively for food products to prevent waste and/or for questions of hygiene or safety. By the same year, it will be mandatory to prevent the sale of products containing microplastics or nano-plastics, and non-reusable lighters, shaving razors, and printer and photocopier ink and toner cartridges.

Lluís Amengual Llabrés, Bachelor of Environmental Sciences