03/11/2022

New Plastic tax: what is it and how does it affect you?

The plastic tax will begin to apply in Spain from January 1, 2023. It is designed to promote the circular economy and reduce the amount of single-use plastics.

Objective of the new plastic tax

This new special tax on non-reusable plastic containers is promoted by the new Law 7/22 on Waste and Contaminated Soil. The objective is to reduce the generated weight of single-use plastic to 50% by 2026 and 70% by 2030.

If your company is affected by this tax, there are measures that you may be able to take to reduce the economic impact on your company. At the end of the article we explain how. But first, let's begin by understanding what this tax is and who it will affect, as well as its exemptions.

What is this new tax levied on?

The new tax is levied on non-reusable plastic packaging:

Primary packaging: individual formats that contain food or products of any kind (bags, bottles, caps, etc.)
Secondary packaging: grouping of individual formats, such as a shrink pack, plastic rings that hold, for example, a pack of cans, etc.
Tertiary packaging: for shrink-wrapping pallets, straps, etc.

How much will I have to pay?

The calculation of what will be paid with this new tax is calculated per kilo of non-recycled plastic contained in the packaging. 

Specifically, the tax rate is €0.45 per kg of plastic.

What if the packaging contains a part of recycled plastic?

In this case, a certificate issued by a UNE-EN 15343:2008 certified company will be needed indicating the amount of non-recycled plastic.

This part will not pay tax.

During year 2023 this certificate will not be necessary and a simple receipt issued by the supplier will suffice.

Who will have to pay the new tax on plastic?

The payment of the tax is made only once, and is the responsibility of whoever first introduces the film to the Spanish market. Therefore, they will be:

• Film manufacturers in the Spanish territory (manufacturers of PE, OPP, PET, etc.)
• Convertors (such as IFLEX)
• Legal entities or companies that introduce plastic in Spain, either by intra-community acquisition (European Union) or by import from countries outside the EU.

Exemptions and Returns

Keep in mind that the law provides for some cases in which the use of plastic in packaging is exempt from this tax. This would be the case of:

• Containers for medicines, health products, food for special medical uses, formulas for infants for hospital use or hazardous waste from health centers.
• Products that are going to be or have been shipped outside Spanish territory.
• Products whose importation or intra-community acquisition does not exceed 5 kg of the total weight of non-recycled plastic.
• Products that have been returned for destruction or reincorporation into the manufacturing process.
Losses: a certificate of destruction (from the waste processing company) will be necessary to be able to request a refund.

What alternatives does a company have to reduce the amount of the tax?

This new tax burden, which is in the frame of Law 7/22 on Waste and Contaminated Soil, will entail a significant economic outlay for companies in the sector. 

The future lies in adapting and reducing the amount of plastic if possible. 

Depending on the product to be packaged, required barrier properties, machinability and other variables, the IFLEX technical department will study your case individually and propose solutions to reduce the impact of the tax. 

What possible solutions do I have?

Each case is different and it is necessary to study it well to find the best solution. But, in general, some of the alternatives you might have are:

• Replacement of the plastic component of the packaging with other materials
• Reduction of microns / weight of the packaging
• Substitution of some layers for lighter thermoplastics
• Use of PCR (post-consumer recycled) material, as long as food safety regulations allow it. 

These are some examples of the measures we can help you take. But each case is different and, as we have already seen, the viability of these changes must be studied in detail in each specific case.

Shall we help you find the best solution for you?

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New Plastic tax: what is it and how does it affect you? - IFLEX