The Service of Advice to the User of the Municipal Services of the Department of Economic Development of the City of Totana informs that the obligatory nature of collecting the plastic bags from tomorrow on March 1, initially planned by the Government, has been postponed until further notice and is pending the opinion of the Council of State, before its final approval.
This was announced yesterday by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment, given that the initial date provided for in the Royal Decree that regulates the total ban of plastic bags in 2020 and the intermediate step of charging for its use in 2018 was an estimate.
Although now the Ministry admits that it can not specify a date for the Royal Decree to be definitively approved, it expects that to happen before the end of the first semester of 2018.
The initiative aspires to charge for plastic bags between 5 and 15 euro cents, except for the very light, until its definitive ban in 2020, less those of compostable material.
The delay is due to the fact that, after studying the allegations that were submitted to the draft Royal Decree to reduce plastic bags and that will incorporate the Spanish legal order the European Union regulations, the text has been precisely, under study by the European Commission for its assessment as a technical standard.
In this regard, the same Ministry sources add that once the response is received, it will be sent to the State Council to issue an opinion and, with the result of these two processes, the final text will be submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval.
The project aims to prohibit the total distribution of plastic bags to consumers from January 2020, and, until then, force the collection of them.
Thus, from January 2020 the distribution of lightweight and fragmentable plastic bags by businesses will be prohibited and their sale will be prohibited. However, according to the draft, there will be two exceptions: those produced with compostable material and the most thick (more than 50 microns) since "their characteristics allow a better reuse" and will have to incorporate a minimum content of 30 percent recycled plastic
In particular, the objective is to prohibit the free distribution of light plastic bags, which have a thickness of between 15 and 50 microns, and which constitute the vast majority of those consumed in Spain.
However, very light plastic bags, less than 15 microns thick, will remain free "for reasons of hygiene or to contain bulk foods, such as those used to contain fruit, meat or fish", as stated in draft.
The bags tend to disperse, transported by air as garbage due to their low weight, which causes pollution in water masses, the banks of the sea and rivers and the terrestrial environment, with serious consequences on ecosystems.
In this sense, the Ministry points out that the effects on the environment are "aggravated in the case of fragmentable plastic bags", which disintegrate into small particles that are later ingested by living beings.
With this project, it is intended to achieve greater cleanliness in the environment and achieve greater awareness of the population by the excessive consumption of disposable products.
In the last decade, Spain has reduced the consumption of plastic bags by half, from 317 bags per inhabitant in 2007 to 144 bags per inhabitant in 2014, according to sector data.