Mercadona is a step ahead of the Balearic legislation. |

The federation of food and drink industries represents almost 30,000 companies throughout Spain. Among these companies are the Spanish divisions for Bimbo, Kellogg, Nestlé and Pepsico; there are 480 based in the Balearics. The federation is challenging the Balearic government's legislative proposals in respect of plastic waste, arguing that they violate European directives and the principle of market unity under the Spanish Constitution.

A month ago, the cabinet approved the text of legislation to be taken before parliament. The law would prohibit, inter alia, the distribution in the Balearics of plastic cups and dishes, non-reusable lighters and toner, and single-use coffee capsules.

There is support for the legislation from companies operating in the Balearics. Mercadona is one, and it has pre-empted legislation by providing paper bags or recyclable plastic bags. The federation, however, has a great deal of muscle, and its challenges - which have been registered with parliament - relate to specific articles in the legislation to do with, for instance, single-use products.

The federation highlights the principle of market unity, i.e. the same rules should apply region by region, as a "fundamental pillar for the competitive functioning of the Balearic and Spanish economy". Introducing measures that are not standard across the regions would mean increased costs that impede business activity. With regard to EU directives, the federation points to their application which requires the  free circulation of goods and services within Spanish territory.

The Balearic parliament will almost certainly pass the legislation as it stands. If so, it will be up to the federation to press the Sánchez government in Madrid to challenge the legislation on constitutional grounds and take it before the Constitutional Court.