Deposit and return has been on the cards in Mallorca for some time,

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New Spanish legislation will oblige supermarkets of 400 square metres or more to reserve at least 20% of their space for the sale of loose products; customers will be able to bring their own containers and bags for these products and not need to use plastic bags.

This will take effect in nine months time, the measure being just one included in the waste law that has been passed by Congress. This law complements regulations already in force in the Balearics and, in some respects, goes beyond what is currently stipulated.

One of the measures that will directly affect the Balearics is a new charge that will apply to incineration and landfill. Under Balearic law, there already is such a charge. It is paid by town halls or large waste producers to Tirme, the company responsible for incineration and landfill. The state charge is higher than in the Balearics, implying that town halls will have to pay more. In all likelihood, this will mean municipal taxpayers having to pay more as well.

The law stipulates that all municipalities with more than 5,000 residents must implement collection of organic waste by June this year. Most municipalities in Mallorca and the Balearics have such a system, but it has yet to be introduced in some of Palma's districts. The goal is for 55% of waste to be recycled by 2025 and for this figure to increase to 65% by 2035. The law also states that food cups and containers for immediate consumption must be reduced by 50% within three years and up to 70% by 2030.

A further measure is the same as a proposal by the Council of Mallorca for a container deposit and return system, one that is used in other countries. Balearic law provides for this, but the system has yet to be formally implemented in Mallorca.