On September 22, 2021, the newspaper El País reported the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition is drafting a decree that will ban grocers from selling produce that weighs less than 1.5 kg in plastic packaging by 2023. The exact list of which products must comply with the new ordinance will be developed by Spain’s Food Safety and Nutrition Agency. In addition to removing plastic from fruit and vegetable sales, the Ministry also wants to reduce sales of drinks in plastic bottles by 50% by 2030 through the installation of drinking fountains and the development of reuse systems.
The Spanish decree is based heavily on a piece of legislation France passed as part of the country’s single-use plastics ban (FPF reported). Both the Spanish and French bans make exceptions for foods “at risk of deteriorating when sold loose.” France’s ban will go into effect beginning January 2022. Spain’s decree is still in development, but El País does not report if other aspects of single-use plastic packaging in grocery stores will be affected. Produce stickers, for example, are included in the French ban unless they are made of paper or another compostable material.
Recent research has found that phthalates can migrate into fruit from the labels and tapes applied to their skin (FPF reported). Some shops have begun laser marking produce as a way to remove the extra packaging (FPF reported here and here). In a 2020 European Commission survey, Spanish citizens reported some of the highest levels of concern regarding the impact of chemicals on human health and the environment (FPF reported).
Susanna Urra (September 22, 2021). “Spain to ban sale of fruit and vegetables in plastic wrapping from 2023.” El País
US Library of Congress (March 20, 2020). “France: New Anti-waste Law Adopted.”
Charles Graham-Dixon (February 18, 2020). “Trash city: Why Madrid needs to take a stand against plastic.” El País