Spain to ban plastic packaging for fruits and vegetables
In the fight against plastic pollution, Spain has focused on a new target: the plastic used to package fruits and vegetables in supermarkets.
Products packaged in plastic will be banned in the country from 2023, according to a decree being drafted by the Ministry of Ecological Transition, as sources familiar with the matter have indicated. El País of Spain Wednesday.
“[We want to] fight against overuse of packaging in the most efficient way, ”a ministry spokesperson told El País, adding that plastic pollution“ has exceeded all limits ”.
Plastic packaging in Spain generates 1.6 million tonnes (around 1.8 million tonnes) of plastic waste each year, according to figures from the Ministry of Ecological Transition reported by Local. Less than half is recycled.
The plastic waste used to package fruits and vegetables has been disputed by environmental groups in Spain and abroad. Spain’s decision also follows French legislation banning plastic packaging on fruits and vegetables, which will come into force in January 2022, as the The Library of Congress reported.
The Spanish decree follows French law by only banning plastic wrap for portions weighing less than 1.5 kilograms (approximately 3.3 pounds). In addition to banning plastic wrap, the draft decree also contemplates measures to discourage the use of plastic water bottles by encouraging the installation of public fountains and the promotion of other alternatives, El País reported. The decree could also begin to reduce the number of plastic cups distributed at public events from 2023. Overall, the decree sets the goal of reducing by 50% the number of plastic bottles sold in the country for beverages. by 2030 and ensure that 100% of packaging is recyclable.
Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition met with business leaders and environmental groups to discuss the new measures.
Julio Barea of Greenpeace told El País the group approved the plastic packaging ban, but was waiting to see how it would be enforced. Overall, Barea said Spain’s center-left government has not done enough to reduce plastic pollution.
“We drink plastic, we eat plastic and we breathe plastic,” Barea said.
The new decree is also in line with the recommendations made in the very first review of the scientific literature on marine litter in Spain, published in Marine Pollution Bulletin this month. The document revealed microplastic contamination along the entire Spanish coast and outlined steps international and local governments, businesses and individuals could take to reduce plastic waste.
“In our opinion, the solution goes beyond measures such as recycling or reuse, and undoubtedly consists in limiting the use of plastics, mainly single-use, and also to drastically reduce their production globally”, have wrote the study authors.
They said consumers should buy foods, including fruits and vegetables in bulk, to avoid unnecessary plastic packaging.
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