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Navarra’s Regional Law on Waste and Taxation raises £3.5 million euros for environmental action

27 October 2020, 16:05 GMT 3 min read

One of the most high-profile examples of this is the recent Law on Waste and Taxation, which has now generated £3.5 million euros for green initiatives. It was originally adopted in 2018, with a view to introducing new taxation systems and regulating how different types of waste are treated. The ultimate aim is to prevent unnecessary waste in future years and look to new ways of reusing and recycling.

As the first law on waste management in Navarra this is one of the key instruments of the Navarra Waste Plan for 2017-2027. It aims to drive a circular economy whilst helping to combat climate change and sets out clear actions for preventing waste. This includes collecting organic matter separately from other waste products, introducing a landfill or incineration disposal tax and creating a Waste Fund to mitigate the adverse impacts of waste on human health and the environment.

The tax is not passed on to the general public, but to local authorities and waste managers, and is paid on waste deposited at landfill sites. All the money generated helps to finance new initiatives introduced by the Regional Law, with an aim of improving management processes and changing social behaviours. The tax is widely considered to be a first step towards ‘Pay-as-You-Throw’.

Its objectives are to:

  • Encourage a reduction in waste and an increase in reuse and recycling, while discouraging waste disposal by landfilling and incineration.
  • Establish a suitable waste governance model in the Autonomous Community of Navarra.
  • Guarantee the suitable management of household and commercial waste, ensuring coordination between the Public Administration of Navarra and Local Entities.
  • Establish the legal system for the waste disposal tax.
  • Ensure that waste management is carried out without harming the environment or endangering human health, improving the quality of life of citizens in Navarra.
  • Restore degraded areas and decontaminate soils.

Key changes introduced under the law are:

  • Plastic bags will be banned from 2020, with the exception of compostable plastic. Work on this began with the introduction of a charge for bags on 1 July 2018 and retailers are now obliged to inform the Department of the Environment of any income generated from them.
  • Single-use products will be banned from 2020. This includes disposable plastic plates, glasses, cups and food trays, as well as single-dose packaged products or single-use pods made from non-recyclable materials
  • Packaging will be reduced to a minimum, with public bodies promoting the installation of potable water sources in public places or the use of water in reusable packaging. They will also avoid the sale of single-use bottles in their buildings, except healthcare centres and hospitals. Hotels and catering firms will also be obliged to offer containers and cups with tap water when requested by customers.

2020 Waste Fund Update

The 3.5 million euros raised for the Waste Fund in the second half of 2018 and first half of 2019 will be distributed to local authorities and companies to help cut waste and encourage re-use.

This includes:

  • 872,590.52 euros for local and private organisations that collect, transport and manage household waste, with a particular focus on the prevention, selective collection and management of waste throughout 2020.
  • 300,000.00 euros in subsidies for local authorities that are responsible for the collection, transport and management of household waste.
  • 1,150,000.00 euros to companies for waste prevention projects and preparing for the reuse and recycling of industrial waste.
  • 1,060,000.00 euros to companies and local authorities for improving recycling systems and the safe recovery of construction and demolition waste, as well as for sorting and evaluating excavated natural materials such as compost, soil, gravel and clay for reuse.
  • 188,453.48 euros for localised actions to support nature and deal with urgent issues around the impacts of climate change.

Navarra’s next step will be to prepare a Plan for Green Public Procurement and Innovation, which will further promote the circular economy and prioritise reusable materials, recyclable products and the use of recycled materials for government purchases. This will develop over the coming months and may become the inspiration for other states and regions as they invest in sustainable initiatives for a green recovery following Covid-19.