The Balearic government wants to make these cups a thing of the past. | Archive


The sale and distribution of disposable plastic cups, plates and crockery are to be prohibited under regional legislation for the control of waste. This law, being presented by the environment ministry, envisages that the ban on these types of plastic products will come into effect at the start of 2020.

A year earlier, from January 2019, shops will no longer be able to give out lightweight plastic bags for single usage: these are categorised as having a thickness of under 50 microns. However, very lightweight bags - transparent ones without handles - will continue to be permitted for bagging the likes of loose fruit and vegetables.

The ministry's department for environmental quality and waste has spent more than a year drafting the legislation, which contains 62 articles. The law's intention is for a "complete change" in the system of waste management and soil contamination. It will be the first such legislation in the Balearics and aspects of it, such as the ban on disposable cups etc., follows the lead of the French government: a ban will come into effect in France in 2020.

The head of the department, Sebastià Sansó, says that the EU has directives for waste and so the Balearics need to take these into account. Brussels, for instance, prohibits the distribution of free plastic bags. His department will start consulting with the likes of retailers next week in advance of presenting the draft of the bill, which is expected to be published in June.

Sansó notes that the legislation is important but it is also complicated because it has to take account of divisions of responsibilities. In Palma, for instance, the town hall has already announced its own ban on the use of plastic, while the Council of Majorca is working on its own waste management plan.

As far as the government is concerned, the use of certain disposable plastic items and bags is avoidable, while it also has a significant environmental impact. There won't be a complete outlawing of disposable items, as ones which are biodegradable will be permitted.