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Waste fishing, reused water and obsolescence: This is the first circular economy plan in Spain

Government lists first official strategy to improve resource utilization

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Waste fishing, reused water and obsolescence: This is the first circular economy plan in Spain

There is no need to make many numbers to conclude that economic model reigning since Industrial Revolution — extracting, producing, consuming, and throwing — will not be sustained in future. The UN estimates that by mid-century world's population would be around 9.1 billion people. "With population figures estimated for 2050, it would take almost three Earth planets to provide natural resources needed to maintain current lifestyles," notes draft Spanish strategy of Circular economy, which has had Access country.

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Basically, idea that inspires this strategy — first with which Spain will count and which has as Horizon 2030 — is one that manages different organisms for years: moving from linear economic model (based on extraction of resources) to a circular ( enhancing its reuse).

The strategy, which is aligned with that adopted by European Commission in 2015, is coordinated by Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, food and environment, but six more ministries are involved. It includes an action plan for period 2018-2020, budget of which is 838.8 million. These are some of actions envisaged:

Water Reuse

The bulk of budget will be for water reuse actions, a field in which State continues to have main competencies in front of communities. The plan provides for use of 478.2 million for wastewater reuse projects — mainly for agriculture — that are already covered in hydrological plans.

Fiscal Harmonization

"Some autonomous communities have established taxes on waste, while ors lack m," says plan's text. "This circumstance can present problems from point of view of market unit, free movement, equality or compliance with environmental objectives," he adds. A year ago, government created two expert committees on Autonomic financing model, which should also address possible changes in taxation. But circular economy plan already warns: "an orderly, coordinated and harmonized waste taxation with communities is an essential tool to encourage application of principle of hierarchy of waste and to avoid tourism of Waste produced in Spain. "

Waste for Public Works

The plan also includes updating of several standards, including Royal Decree on construction and demolition waste. The objective is to increase use of this type of waste in public works. Environment and development y are to sign an agreement to increase use of waste in construction of roads and ports and in works of Adif.

Garbage Fishing

Since beginning of this decade, waste collection projects — mainly plastics — have been launched in Spain, which end up in sea. The Ministry now intends to set "a national scheme" for this practice, which will include criteria for developing se harvests — which are often carried out by fishermen — and a database that helps to better understand what kind of waste ends up in sea. A million euros will be used for this "scheme"; and to install waste collection points in ports, four million.


From standpoint of legislation, planned obsolescence does not even have an official definition in EU. Last year European Parliament urged Commission to set this definition and to help consumers access "high-quality and repairable durable products". The strategy makes some reference to obsolescence. and emphasizes that state Plan of scientific and technical research and innovation has a line of action for " promotion of new design systems" of products to promote "lengning lifespan, repairability and reduction of Obsolescence ".

Old food

Under this denomination are included products for human food that, for example, have exceeded expiration date. Agriculture plans to change current regulations to increase amount of "old food" that can be used for animal feed.

Spain's suspense in recycling

Spain cannot be proud of its recycling rates. This is recognized in draft Circular economy strategy: "We are unharnessing much of resources in a context in which matters are increasingly scarce and expensive," text reads.

The document gives some figures: "The latest data collected by Eurostat shows that during 2014, in EU, 2.502 billion tons of waste were generated, of which only 900 million, 36% were used." Spain does not even reach that percentage: That same 2014 country generated "111 million tons of waste" and, "according to information of National Institute of Statistics (INE) were treated 49.8 million in specialized waste management plants, of which 27 were destined to recycling, 19.4 to dumping and 3.4 to incineration ". "In or words," The text notes, "during last year of which data are available, only 24.32% of waste was recycled in Spain, several points below European average."


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