Home Sciences Catalonia studies a rate of 20 cents per cigarette to recycle butts

Catalonia studies a rate of 20 cents per cigarette to recycle butts

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Catalonia also prepares its own war on waste and single-use plastic. The ‘conselleria’ d’Acció Climàtica is already working on the first draft of the new Llei de Residus; a regulation with which it is intended to put an end to single-use plastics, eradicate unnecessary food packaging and eliminate microplastics from cosmetic and hygiene products. “One of the measures we are studying is a system so that users can return used cigarette butts and let them know return part of the costas is done in some countries with plastic bottles”, explains isaac peraire, director of the Catalan Waste Agency, in an interview with EL PERIÓDICO. “The objective is to avoid that, as has happened up to now, 70% of the cigarette butts generated in Catalonia they end up lying on the ground or dumped into the sea”, he illustrates.

The proposal, still in its embryonic phase, would an increase of about 20 cents per cigarette (the equivalent of about four euros for pack of 20 units). This amount would be returned in full as soon as the user delivered the used cigarette butts in a recycling point. The ins and outs of this system are not yet defined but, for the time being, it is not ruled out that these returns can be made in the same tobacconists or establishments dedicated to the sale of these products.

“These surcharges are not designed to raise more, but to reduce environmental impact of these products. Hopefully there will come a point where this measure will no longer be necessary because it will mean that the problem of cigarette butts has disappeared,” says Peraire. “We must not forget that the pollution generated by plastics is not only a very serious environmental problem, but also which also has a negative impact on our health“, adds the director of the Catalan Waste Agency in relation to the regulatory changes that are taking place in the Catalan legal framework.

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926.65 euros return

The number of smokers in Catalonia around the 1.5 million (20% of the population). In 2019, Catalans bought some 427 million packets of tobacco, the equivalent of about 8.5 billion cigarettes individual. According to the first estimates of the Generalitat, if a system of surcharges and returns on tobacco butts were implemented, a person who returned 90% of their waste to a recycling point could recover about 926.65 euros per year. The unreturned butts, meanwhile, could leave about 154,440,000 annually in the public coffers; some funds that would be used, in turn, to awareness and clean-up.

This proposalnow subject to debate between the parliamentary groups and the various actors involved, was born for Today, Catalonia generates some 2,720 tons of butts year. An 70% of these end up thrown on the ground. In urban environments, as several waste inspections have verified, on average there are 0.1 cigarette butts per square meter. On the beaches, they account for more than 25% of the waste collected. According to data from the European Commission, at the moment they represent the most frequent waste on the Mediterranean coast.

fight against plastics

The Generalitat’s plan to put an end to the sea of ​​plastics that floods the planet also involves deploying a battery of measures to reduce the unnecessary consumption of this material and optimize its recycling. “The best waste is the one that is not produced. That is why we want to work, on the one hand, on production systems to find more sustainable alternatives that generate less waste. On the other hand, we also want to provide consumers with more sustainable options so they can choose,” explains Peraire.

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One of the great promises of this new regulation is “the end of overpackaging of food products“. “By this we mean, for example, the typical package of cupcakes in which each unit is double wrapped in plastic. First in an individual container and then in a bag”, illustrates the director of the Catalan Waste Agency. This type of packaging would be prohibited by the new Catalan regulations. The same would happen, for example, with plastic-wrapped fruit trays. Waves coffee capsules of aluminum.

“The objective of these measures is not to prohibit for the sake of prohibition. The idea is to find more sustainable alternatives”

isaac peraire

“The objective of these measures is not to prohibit for the sake of prohibition. The idea is find more sustainable alternatives. In the case of coffee capsules, for example, it is as easy as changing the aluminum containers for reusable or compostable containers,” says Peraire. “These changes can mean a stimulus for the business fabric because in the end this transition can provide new opportunities for development. For this, we are already preparing calls for aid and subsidies “, he adds.

As for the future of these proposalsPeraire explains that, today, everything points to the debate around these measures It will take about a year. Its approval, therefore, is not expected before next year. Even after the final approval, the Llei de Residus would leave a margin to implement the changes (up to one year in the case of taxes and two years for product and packaging changes). “It is important to embark on this path as soon as possible, becausee planet we only have one. And health and life too“, he reflects.

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