If new legislation is passed, a ban on plastic packaging in Spain could be implemented as early as 2023. It is a necessary measure for a country that, after Turkey, is the second largest polluter in the Mediterranean.
The government has announced a ban on plastic packaging in Spain, from 2023, for fruit and vegetables weighing less than 1.5kg. Plastic packaging has become ubiquitous in Spain’s daily shopping, from bags of apples and polystyrene trays of fruit to salad kits and even a single aubergine wrapped in film.
For many consumers, sealed packaging gives them the impression that their food is cleaner, fresher, and safer, and it makes buying fresh produce much easier. However, some people believe that their love affair with plastic has gone too far.
A ban on plastic packaging in Spain, following other European countries such as France, will be an attempt to reduce some of the two million tonnes of plastic produced in the country, half of which ends up in landfills.
The new law also aims to encourage people to buy loose fruits and vegetables in reusable containers or other environmentally friendly packets.
According to environmental groups, the ban on plastic packaging in Spain is necessary because Spain is the Mediterranean’s second-largest plastic polluter after Turkey.
In 2020, Spaniards disposed of 900,000 tonnes of domestic plastic, but only two-thirds of that amount was recycled.
According to Greenpeace data, despite the population’s best efforts to properly dispose of waste, three thousand tonnes of bottles, wraps, and other plastics end up in the environment and the oceans every year.
Domestic produce in Spain accounts for the majority of the country’s use of plastic containers. Pre-packaged food, bottled beverages, and cleaning products account for 40% of all plastic-packaged items produced in the United States.
According to a study conducted by the Spanish Manufacturers and Distributors Association (AECOC) in 2019, half of Spaniards buy their fruits and vegetables in supermarkets, with only four out of ten opting for loose rather than packed produce.
Sixty percent of consumers buy ready-to-eat salads at least once a week, and 38% buy packed, peeled, and chopped fruits.
Of course, the new regulations will affect producers and retailers, but business owners believe that customers will suffer as well.
They are lobbying the government to enact waivers so that some of these products, such as pre-prepared salads, can continue to be sold.
As plastics continue to pollute the world’s oceans and rivers, most consumers believe that reducing plastic wrappings in fruits and vegetables is a good idea, but changing habits is easier said than done.
According to an Ipsos poll conducted in 2019, eight out of ten Spaniards are willing to purchase products with the least amount of packaging possible.