Spain’s Catalonia region plans cigarette tax to encourage smokers to recycle cigarette butts

The measures attempted so far have proved ineffective. / THIS

The regional government of Catalonia plans to introduce a new tax of 20 centimos per cigarette, which could generate 154.44 million euros per year to spend on awareness-raising and cleaning operations

The regional government of Catalonia is considering introducing a new tax of 20 centimos per cigarette, to encourage people to return their cigarette butts so they can be recycled. Part of the tax would be refunded when the cigarette butts are returned, the director of the Agència de Residus de Catalunya, Isaac Peraire, explained in an interview on Tuesday.

“The objective is to avoid the current situation, where 70% of cigarette butts generated in Catalonia end up thrown on the ground or in the sea,” he said, before insisting that it is not a way for the government to make money.

According to initial estimates from the region’s Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, if someone returns 90% of their cigarette butts for recycling, they could receive 926.65 euros per year as reimbursement, while the Generalitat would have 154.44 million euros per year to devote to awareness and cleaning operations.

Sources there say that the amount of 20 centimos per cigarette was decided after studies were conducted on the program.

Peraire did not rule out the idea that butts could be returned to tobacconists or other places where cigarettes are sold, as well as recycling points.

The Catalan government, which considers that the measures put in place so far have had little effect, is also considering including this initiative in its new law on residues, which would also put an end to single-use plastics, eliminate unnecessary food packaging and put an end to microplastics.

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