Proposed Plastic Laws

Preliminary Bill on Waste: the beginning of the end for plastic in the Balearics



Bold new measures could see a massive shift in the use of plastic in the islands as early as 2020. In 2016, more than 605,000 tons of rubbish were generated in Mallorca, the figure continues to grow and has kept the Son Reus incinerator at its limit. The figures show that of these 605,000 tons, only 17% was recycled. Reducing this trend, as well as guaranteeing a prudent and rational use of natural resources, are two of the basic pillars of the Preliminary Bill on Waste and Pollution in the Balearic Islands. The bill began its public exhibition period on 18th January.

If the bill is passed, the new regulations will ensure the disappearance of plastic and aluminium coffee capsules. From 2020 they must be compostable or the marketing companies will be obliged to offer a collection and recycling service.

Further, as of January 1, 2020, the distribution and sale of disposable plates, cutlery, cups and plastic trays, as well as products containing microplastics or nano-plastics (mainly toothpaste and cosmetics) will be prohibited. Plastic straws, cotton buds  and lollipop sticks will have to be replaced with compostable alternatives. 

Throwaway lighters and razors, single-use cartridges and toners for printers will no longer be sold in the Balearics. All these products must be reusable and/or rechargeable according to the new regulations that follow European guidelines.

Manufacturers or distributors of wet wipes will be obliged to give information on the damage they cause to the environment.

The Balearic waste law also closes the door to the import of waste to be treated in the public waste plants, as happened last year.

The Ministry of Environment and Agriculture of the Balearic Government hopes the new law, reportedly the most far-reaching legislation in Europe against disposable products, will be approved after the summer. The proposal includes a regime of penalties ranging from €300 to €9,000 in case of minor infractions, up to €300,000 for serious and €1.75m for those considered very serious.

The public exhibition phase is open until March 2nd. The public is able to send proposals and suggestions via the official website,