THE sale of fruit and veg in plastic packaging is to be banned in Spain from 2023.

A royal decree is in the process of being passed, which will ban plastic wrappings weighing less than 1.5 kg.

However, there will be some exemptions, including the packaging of food ‘at risk of spoilage when sold in bulk’, which will be put on a list to be drawn up by AESAN (Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition).

The decree also sets specific targets to reduce the use of plastic containers and promote reusable ones.

These include halving the number of plastic bottles sold by 2023; making 100% of packaging recyclable by the end of the decade and making 50% of packaging sold in hotels, restaurants and cafés reusable by 2025.

Not everyone is convinced the legislation is the right way forward. Galician chemist Deborah Garcia Bello argues that specialists in materials science should be consulted.

“Before approving such an environmental aberration, specialists in materials science should be consulted”, she says

She claims that the change will make the problem of food waste worse.

“Food needs to be preserved and kept safe for the longest time possible, and this is very much dependent on packaging,” she said. 

“The new regulations will result in companies opting for packaging made from less sustainable and non-recyclable materials, such as plasticised cartons.”

She insists that it is more important to ‘re-use’, instead of enforcing a ban.

She advocates using tools such as reusable bags made of raffia, polyester or polyethylene netting, which although plastic can be re-used again and agan.

Other measures being considered include finding alternatives to plastic bottles and single use plastic cups at events, and encouraging people to bring their own reusable containers to be filled in shops.

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