Municipal waste charges in Spain are very widespread, although their application varies significantly among different municipalities. Most commonly, waste charges are implemented as a flat rate, but some of them depend on indicators such as household water consumption, the land area of the property or the value of the real estate.
Only one residential pay-as-you-throw scheme has been applied so far. It was a pay-per-bag scheme implemented in Torrelles de Llobregat, Barcelona. A number of other systems focussing only on commercial waste have been implemented in Spain.
Several factors suggest that new pay-as-you-throw schemes will be adopted in the near future. In 2000 no municipalities had door-to-door collection schemes; since then over 70 municipalities have implemented them. In addition to this, some regions encourage the separate collection of commercial waste, by means of doorstep schemes. In all of these areas, variable charging systems could be easily adopted. Additionally, regarding waste charges, the National Waste Plan (2000–2006) advocated for the implementation of “pilot experiences for the quantitative application of the polluter-pays-principle”. The tendency towards these variable charging systems in Europe will also favour their introduction in Spain.