Packaging Law in Spain: Registration Requirements
The Spanish Packaging Law takes packaging manufacturers to task from 2023 onwards. With the new law, Spain is implementing the EU Directive 2018/852 from 2018 into national law after a lengthy process. In the implementation of the EU Directive, Spain takes its own course in some respects compared to the Directive and other EU Member States. For example, at the beginning of 2023, foreign companies were surprised by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment (MITECO)’s requirement to apply for a special tax number. The Spanish tax number for non-resident companies (NIF) is required to register in the packaging register. These and other obligations pose challenges for companies. In this article, we explain the most important changes brought about by the new Packaging Law in Spain.
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From 2023, manufacturers in Spain are subject to registration requirements. On the one hand, manufacturers must register themselves in the packaging register, and on the other hand, they must register the packaging they put on the market. Unlike the previous law, the extended producer responsibility no longer applies only to household packaging, but also to commercial and industrial packaging.
In addition, the introduction of a deposit system for packaging is mandatory under the new Packaging Law in Spain.
As the requirements of the Packaging Law in Spain differ from the laws of other EU Member States in some respects, it is advisable to seek advice from experts to ensure that all requirements are met. We are happy to offer our services at Deutsche Recycling GmbH.
Basics of the Packaging Law in Spain
In the context of the legal changes, the term “new packaging regulation” in Spain is sometimes heard. However, this is a misnomer. Since December 28, 2022, there is no packaging regulation in Spain, but a packaging law. The difference is significant, as regulations specify how laws should be implemented. Laws, on the other hand, describe specifically what should be done.
The Spanish Packaging Law came into force on December 28, 2022, as the “Royal Decree on Packaging and Packaging Waste” and thus contains clear regulations that affected companies must comply with. For some regulations, you have time to implement them, as the deadlines sometimes extend to 2025. However, you must already comply with other regulations under the Spanish Packaging Law. In the following, we will give you an overview of what the Spanish Packaging Law specifically prescribes and how you can comply with the regulations.
The Packaging Law in Spain requires registration
New is the establishment of a register in which manufacturers must register themselves and the packaging they put on the market. Companies affected by the Spanish Packaging Law are required to register all packaging placed on the market in the register. It is new that, unlike the previous Packaging Law in Spain, not only household packaging must be registered from 2023 onwards. Trade, commercial and industrial packaging are also subject to registration requirements.
By reporting the packaging placed on the market, the authorities are able to set the fees for manufacturers correctly and prevent violations of the Packaging Law in Spain.
To be able to process the registration of their own company as a manufacturer and the registration of the packaging properly, foreign companies must appoint a representative.
Overall, the registration requirement for packaging under the Spanish Packaging Law is similar to the registration requirement for electrical and electronic equipment, which is mandatory under the Spanish RAEE Decree (WEEE Directive in Spain).
A significant complication in the registration was caused by a new regulation in the Spanish Packaging Law 2023: The Spanish Ministry of the Environment requires foreign companies that are required to register in the packaging register to have a Spanish tax number for non-resident companies. This number is referred to as NIF. A foreign VAT ID is therefore not accepted by the Spanish authorities. Foreign companies are already complaining about this bureaucratic complication and are calling it a barrier to entry to the Spanish market. There are some comparisons being drawn to the complications for foreign companies caused by the Triman logo in France.
Other requirements under the Spanish Packaging Law
The scope of application of the extended producer responsibility is extended from household packaging to commercial and industrial packaging. Companies that distribute household packaging must already join the organisation ECOEMBES. ECOEMBES is the organisation that is responsible for recycling packaging waste in Spain.
ECOEMBES also bears the responsibility for licensing packaging, which manufacturers need if they exceed certain thresholds for packaging placed on the market. For example, the threshold for packaging made of cardboard, above which a packaging licence is mandatory, is 14 tonnes. From 2025 onwards, the licensing requirement will be extended to commercial and industrial packaging. In this context, manufacturers will be required to establish a deposit, return and refund system for reusable packaging (collection and recycling).
New responsibilities for fulfillment service providers and e-commerce platforms:
The Spanish Packaging Law also introduces new responsibilities for fulfillment service providers and e-commerce platforms. In our blog post on Amazon and the extended producer responsibility, we have already reported that fulfillment service providers in Austria must check whether sellers on the platforms comply with the legal requirements of environmental compliance. In the event of non-compliance or incorrect inspection, the fulfillment service providers are liable to the manufacturers. Under the Spanish Packaging Law, fulfillment service providers and e-commerce companies are held to a higher standard. When selling products from manufacturers from abroad who do not have a representative in Spain, fulfillment service providers and e-commerce platforms take on the financial, informative and organizational obligations of the manufacturers.
Lifting of existing obligations:
The Spanish Packaging Law does not only impose new requirements, but also lifts existing obligations in some cases. For example, there is no longer a labelling requirement for packaging under the new Spanish Packaging Law. Instead, packaging is labelled on a voluntary basis. If companies wish to label their packaging, they have more options since the new law was passed, as new symbols have been introduced, including the Möbius loop and the Tidyman symbol.
Professional Assistance for the Packaging Law in Spain and Other EU State Laws
The Spanish Packaging Law introduces a number of new obligations for packaging manufacturers in Spain. It is important to be aware of these obligations and to take the necessary steps to comply with them. As the requirements of the Spanish Packaging Law differ from the laws of other EU Member States in some respects, it is advisable to seek advice from experts to ensure that all requirements are met. We are happy to offer our services at Deutsche Recycling GmbH.