The Council of Majorca wants to reduce the number of plastic bags. | Carme Fontestad


With Palma having agreed a ban on single-use plastic bags, the Council of Majorca is planning to start banning plastic bags from next year, when it will apply its new general plan for dangerous waste.

In addition to this ban, the plan's guidelines will include an obligation for organic waste collection. The disappearance of plastic bags will be gradual, and the Council's initiative will be reinforced by the regional government's future law for waste management, which envisages the elimination of plastic.

The European Parliament is obliging member states to reduce levels of plastic-bag usage. A 2015 directive established guidelines for the sustained reduction of average consumption of bags. This requirement varies from country to country. In Spain the stipulation is 120 bags annually per inhabitant. For Majorca this translates as 104 million over a twelve-month period.

Palma's ban will come into effect at the start of 2018. It has provoked a certain amount of disquiet within the retail sector, which had wanted a more consensual measure rather than prohibition and consequent sanctions for non-compliance.

Rafael Ballester of Afedeco says that his association proposed the progressive introduction of alternative types of bag some years ago but that this proposal wasn't followed up. He adds that measures on plastic-bag use need to be agreed by all local authorities. They cannot apply to certain municipalities and not others.

He notes that the cost of a paper bag is seven times higher than a plastic bag. "It's always the retailer who is hit."