Galician Law on Contaminated Soils and Waste

The Council of the Xunta de Galicia has just given its approval to the new Law on waste, which aims to promote selective collection to take advantage of the useful life of waste and move towards a circular economy. 

The content of this new law prioritizes the reuse and repair of those materials that become waste, in order to give them a second chance through their repair: for the first time set objectives and measures to progressively increase domestic and commercial waste for reuse and recycling of paper fractions, metals, glass, plastic, bio-waste and other susceptible to be prepared for reuse. As a whole, they should achieve a minimum of 55% by weight by 2025. 

Another of the novelties of the Law is that from 2023 the Galician town councils must establish the separate collection of bio-waste. From 2024 it will also be mandatory the separation of textile waste and hazardous waste of domestic origin.

In order to support local bodies in the implementation of separate collection, local waste prevention and management programmes may be drawn up, which will be compatible with those of the Xunta. In addition, a legal regime for clean points is established.

The new waste law also obliges catering services to deliver leftover fractions of unconsumed food to customers in containers other than single-use containers. In addition, it prohibits the sale of single-use plastic tableware and the free supply of plastic bags. 

The content of this law is in line with the principles of the Waste Framework Directive and the European Union's waste policy, such as promoting the hierarchy in waste management, with an emphasis on prevention.

The text also includes new typifications and sanctions for contaminated soils, which can reach 1.75 million euros.

Galician Circular Economy Strategy (EGEC)

The Council of the Xunta de Galicia has also given the green light, for approval in the Galician Parliament, to the document that identifies 8 main lines of action and a total of 60 proposals and measures to develop. Among the most important proposals for action of the EGEC are the development of an action plan to reduce non-recyclable plastics in the primary sector and in the Galician food industry or the inclusion in public procurement processes of green criteria such as the use of reused materials. 

Some of the first measures that will be implemented will be the call at the beginning of 2020 for a new line of subsidies for city councils in order to enable public spaces for self-repair and exchange of objects, the implementation of green public procurement in Galicia and the start of procedures to build three new plants for the treatment of domestic bio-waste. 

Also noteworthy is the commitment to so-called eco-design to optimise the efficiency of products, minimise their environmental impact and extend life cycles. For the development of the strategy it is estimated that an investment of almost 865 million euros will be necessary during its 10 years of validity, which would mean an annual return equivalent to 1.12% of the Galician GDP.

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