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The new Waste Law seeks to boost Spain's circular economy

| News | Energy

Andersen and CEOE have organised the conference 'The new Circular Economy regulation' with the participation of the Government

The new Waste and Contaminated Soil Law seeks to boost the circular economy in Spain, said Margarita Ruiz Saiz-Aja, Deputy Director General for the Circular Economy of the Directorate General for Environmental Quality and Assessment of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge. Among the main novelties of the Law, the Deputy Director highlighted the incorporation of the Single-Use Plastics Directive and the implementation of two new taxes.

On the occasion of its recent approval, Andersen and CEOE organised the conference 'The new Circular Economy regulation', with the participation of the Government through the presentation given by Margarita Ruiz Saiz-Aja, as well as all the actors involved, with representatives from the plastics industry, packaging manufacturers, large companies and extended producer responsibility systems, who explained the impact and strategies to be followed to create, from companies and for everyone, a future economic model based on the circular economy.

In particular, Carlos Reinoso, Director General of ASPAPEL attended the meeting; Alicia Martín, Director General of Plastics Europe in the Iberian Region and spokesperson for EsPlásticos; María del Valle López Triana, Head of Regulatory, Energy and Environmental Legal Matters in Repsol; Rocío Pastor, Director General of SIGFITO y Juan Carlos Enrique Moreno, Director General of AMBILAMP, who joined Arancha Bengoechea, Partner in charge of Andersen's Environment practice, Juan Pablo Gutiérrez, Tax partner of the firm, as well as José Vicente Morote, Managing Partner of Andersen; and Cristina Rivero, Director of the Industry, Energy, Environment and Climate Department of CEOE.

During the inauguration, José Vicente Morote highlighted Andersen's commitment to the sector, in a cross-cutting manner with specialisation in the different areas involved, such as the environment, natural resources, energy, green finance, among others, as part of the Firm's commitment to a more sustainable future.

For her part, Cristina Rivero highlighted CEOE's intense work over two years on the regulation of the law and her satisfaction at the fact that "90% of the amendments have been accepted by the parliamentary groups".

During her speech, the Deputy Director General for the Circular Economy of the Directorate General for Environmental Quality and Assessment of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, gave a presentation on the new regulations with which the government hopes to "boost the circular economy in Spain".

Margarita Ruiz Saiz-Aja explained that "the aim of this law was twofold: on the one hand, to incorporate two EU directives, on waste and single-use plastics, and, on the other, to review and develop some aspects of the 2011 law".

In the plastics area, the government representative highlighted "the incorporation into law of the directive on single-use plastics", pointing out that "from 2023, the free distribution of disposable plastic products will be banned, like what was done with plastic bags".

Finally, another of the developments he highlighted was "the incorporation for the first time of two fiscal instruments: the tax on non-reusable plastic packaging and the tax on landfill, incineration and co-incineration, ceded to the Autonomous Regions". At this point, Andersen's tax partner Juan Pablo Gutiérrez analysed the particularities of these two new taxes that seek to reduce the use of plastic in order to encourage the circular economy.

During the colloquium moderated by Andersen's Head of Environment, Arancha Bengoechea, the sector was given a voice through four economic agents directly affected by this regulation.

Alicia Martín, from Plastics Europe, explained that the sector "shares the overall objectives of the law" but there are parts that they consider "discriminatory and disproportionate", such as "the tax on plastic", as they consider that "it will not be of environmental benefit and will undermine the competitiveness of the sector". However, they positively welcome "the fact that chemical recycling has been recognised".

María del Valle López Triana, from Repsol, also agreed with this positive aspect, explaining that the company has focused on "maximising both mechanical and chemical recycling and minimising waste that has no choice but to end up in landfill".

On the other hand, Rocío Pastor, General Manager of SIGFITO, a non-profit organisation that collects fertiliser containers, explained that the success of this project is that it is "universal", as "we understood that all farmers, large and small, have the right to have access to a collection service".

Carlos Reinoso, Director General of ASPAPEL, praised the fact that "the Ministry has been very pragmatic and intelligent in terms of extended producer responsibility", but he was critical of the provisions on the reuse of industrial commercial packaging, since, in his opinion, "they do not promote sustainability". 

Finally, Juan Carlos Enrique Moreno presented AMBIPLACE as a success story. He explained that it is an environmental and social marketplace created for the donation of consumer and distributor stock, thus avoiding its disposal. In this sense, the project director remarked that "the AMBIPLACE project was three years ahead of the Waste Law, which now includes a ban on the destruction of unsold stock".

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