Spanish flag with a blue sky background - Requirements for Packaging and Plastic Tax in Spain

Requirements for Packaging, Circular Economy, Environmental Label, and Plastic Tax in Spain

On December 28, 2022, Royal Decree 1055/2022 was published in the Official State Gazette, focusing on Packaging and Packaging Waste.

The aims of this decree are twofold: first, to align Spain’s packaging legislation with the new extended producer responsibility scheme initiated by the European Union, which now encompasses industrial and commercial packaging; and second, to implement measures enhancing transparency and control of producers’ obligations regarding product marketing and waste management.

According to Spanish legislation, anyone introducing full or empty packaging into Spanish territory for the first time must comply with the Extended Producer Responsibility (REP) regime. For foreign companies placing packaged products on the Spanish market, understanding the applicable obligations concerning circular economy, labelling, and plastic tax, as well as potential controls and sanctions, is crucial.

The legislation stipulates that the individual, whether residing in Spain or elsewhere, who first introduces packaging into the national territory, including packaged products, is subject to the REP (Extended Producer Responsibility) regime concerning the introduced packaging. This implies taking responsibility for managing the end-of-life of the packaging once it becomes waste, as mandated by similar obligations in other European countries. 

For detailed information on the specific legislation for France, you can refer to our article on French labelling requirements. For comprehensive insights into labelling and packaging requirements in Italy, you can visit our article covering Italian labelling requirements.

In detail, Spain requires these requirements to guarantee a circular economy for packaging placed on its territory:

  • Organisation of an autonomous system for the collection, recycling and disposal of packaging waste at its own expense and throughout the national territory or
  • Membership of a SCRAP (Sistema Colectivo de Responsabilidad Ampliada del Productor), an existing organisation dedicated to the correct management of the end-of-life of packaging on behalf of its members. Membership requires the signing of a contract with SCRAP and initial membership costs.
  • Periodic declarations of the quantities of packaging placed on Spanish territory and subsequent payment of invoices relating to the eco-contributions to be paid.
  • Drafting and transmission of a  3-year Waste Prevention Plan (PEP – Planes Empresariales de Prevención). This obligation is only provided for those who exceed certain established thresholds of quantities of packaging placed on Spanish territory
  • Registration in the Register of Producers of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge. After adhering to the reference SCRAP, it is necessary to report it to the Ministry by registering in the MITRED register. For foreign companies that place packaged products on the Spanish market through direct or distance sales, it is necessary to have an authorised representative in Spain for registration in the MITERD Register.

Who is obliged to apply to the REP for packaging in Spain?

Your company is obligated to apply to the Extended Producer Responsibility (REP) for packaging in Spain if:

  • It sells packaged products under its own brand or distribution, capable of reaching end consumers within the national territory.
  • Packages or produces products intended for end consumers within the national territory.
  • Imports or acquires through intra-community operations packaged products from foreign companies without a designated authorised representative within the national territory.
  • Markets and supplies packaging for services (such as bags, wrappers, trays, etc.) provided at the point of sale. Article 28.1 of Royal Decree 1055/22 allows for the possibility of voluntary agreements with suppliers to delegate legal and financial obligations.
  • Operates an online marketplace for products aimed at end consumers, including both product packaging and shipping containers. Marketplaces that facilitate marketing for non-compliant companies will face subsidiary liability, as will couriers and parcel companies providing shipping packaging.

When does the REP requirement for packaging come into force in Spain?

For household packaging, it is already in force. The deadline for registration in the MITERD Register, introduced as an obligation by Royal Decree 1055/22 of December 2022, was March 29, 2023. “Domestic” packaging includes products potentially intended for private consumers, irrespective of the place of sale or consumption.

Periodic returns were mandated to commence in 2021 and 2022. Late adherence to the SCRAP requires submission of the declaration within one month of receiving the contract from the SCRAP. For commercial and industrial packaging, the obligation will be enforced from January 2025.

Until December 2024, declarations regarding commercial and industrial packaging can be made voluntarily. New Spanish SCRAPs dedicated to transport packaging and single-use plastic products that are not packaging (e.g., food and beverage containers) are expected to be established by 2023.

Environmental labelling of packaging in Spain

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Prior to December 2024, Spanish national legislation did not mandate an environmental label for packaging. However, starting from January 2025, such labelling will be compulsory, providing information on the urban separate collection container designated for disposing of the packaging.

Royal Decree 1055/2022, introduced in December 2022, stipulated that as of January 2023, affixing the Green Dot on the label is no longer mandatory. Additionally, the decree identified certain phrases “forbidden on the label,” consisting of generic environmental claims that could potentially mislead consumers.

Regulations and penalties for packaging in Spain

As stated in the reference sites, the activated SCRAPs periodically inform the authorities of all those who do not comply with environmental regulations and do not manage their packaging correctly.

According to them, they use 4 systems for identifying non-compliant companies:

  1. Verification of packaged products in all types of stores, including the online channel.
  2. Analysis of company records (Commercial Register) in sectors that could present a higher degree of non-compliance throughout the country.
  3. Monitoring of companies that annually withdraw from the SCRAP, identifying those that do so unjustifiably or for failure to comply with contractual obligations (failure to submit the packaging declaration, non-payment, etc.).
  4. Controls through the Packaging Section of the Register of Product Producers of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge.

The penalties for non-compliance with REP requirements for packaging in Spain have been set out in Article 109 of Royal Decree 1055/2022. The non-compliant company can be fined up to a maximum of €600,000.

Is there a plastic tax on packaging in Spain?

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Law 7/2022 introduced the tax on non-reusable plastic packaging, aimed at promoting waste prevention and encouraging the recycling of plastic waste to foster circularity in plastic material usage. This tax applies to the production or import of non-reusable plastic containers, including those for domestic, commercial, and industrial use, as well as semi-finished products such as preforms, sheets, and caps.

Would you like to stay updated on this topic or understand how your product can be marketed correctly in Spain? Are you seeking to make your product environmentally friendly while ensuring consumer and planet safety? Please let us know, and we will be glad to assist you!

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