Rezero takes part in the public consultation of the Ministry of Finance on the introduction of a tax for single-use plastic items

Rezero has taken part in the Ministry of Finance’s public consultation on the introduction of a tax levied on single-use plastic articles intended to contain or protect food goods or products. Rezero supports the Spanish Government’s initiative and suggests several measures for a correct implementation.

• Expand the tax to cover all single-use containers and products, not just plastic ones.
• The objective of the tax must be clear and should be to discourage the production and distribution of single-use plastic containers and to encourage the use and distribution of returnable and reusable containers.
• The basis must be adequate for the purpose of the measure. Therefore, in order to reduce the number of units put on the market, the tax should not be an amount per ton but per unit. It would possibly be more effective to establish a base tax rate per unit and a variable by weight.
The amount of the tax, if not high enough, can become a further collection measure, without significant effects on the production of plastic packaging.
• The tendency to look for containers with multiple functions has meant the emergence in the market of containers which are difficult or impossible to recycle under real conditions of selective collection, separation and the secondary plastics market. The tax should modulate in such a way that it is a disincentive for those containers that due to their composition (combination of plastic materials or not), size (too small to separate properly in the selection plants) or colour (dark or black colours) are difficult to recycle.
Ensure transparent data: currently, there is no objective or verifiable information on data. Scraps (Collective Systems of Extended Producer Responsibility) do not provide the figures of containers placed on the market and control and monopolize the information related to the management of packaging waste. Several communities and municipalities have already stated the inconsistency between the data provided by the scraps and the results obtained in plants and management centres.
• If the goal is to reduce the cost of cleaning abandoned containers in the environment, a tax is not the most effective instrument. To respond to this objective, an exemption from the tax could be proposed for those containers that adhere to a management system that guarantees a minimum of 90% selective collection, such as the deposit and return system.
• It should be considered if the tax was final or not. In the first case, the funds collected could be preventive policies for container or general waste management. However, there are arguments for the tax not to be finalist, since the cost of container management should be fully borne by the extended producer responsibility systems. The tax does not overlap with these systems because its purpose is to discourage the use and impacts of packaging, not to contribute to the cost of its management

Source: Rezero, 2019