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Environment

Spain plans levy on non-recyclable plastic packaging

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spain aims to collect more than 700 million euros ($810 million) a year with a proposed new tax on non-recyclable plastic packaging, Spanish energy and environment minister Teresa Ribera said on Tuesday.

The new levy, worth 0.45 euros per kilogram of packaging, is contained in a bill proposed by the government to help meet a European Union target of phasing out single-use plastic by 2021.

“This is a indirect tax which will be levied on the manufacturing, import or intra-EU acquisition of the non-reusable plastic packaging used on the Spanish market,” Ribera told a news conference after the weekly cabinet meeting.

In 2017, the most recent year with available data, Spain would have raised 724 million euros from the new tax, she said. The new tax still has a long parliamentary process ahead.

The EU intends to ban single-use plastic straws, cutlery and plates by 2021 in an effort to reduce pollution.

Spain raises less revenue from green taxes than some other EU countries, Ribera said. The Spanish total was equivalent to 1.83% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, while the EU average was 2.40%.

The proposed new tax comes as Madrid scrambles to find new sources of revenue to reduce a widening budget deficit caused by fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The government revised its deficit forecast to 10.34% of GDP, up from 1.8% in February.

A tax on non-recycled plastics is one of the suggestions the European Commission has made to EU member states as a means of helping it repay proposed borrowing of some 750 billion euros to finance an economic recovery from the pandemic.

Reporting by Emma Pinedo, Editing by Inti Landauro and Gareth Jones

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