In the recent years, Spain has managed to improve its data in terms of recycling, but in spite of this it is still necessary to do a lot of awareness work among the citizens. Although in some materials, such as glass, recycling figures are very positive, other do not achieve as good data. In urban waste recycling in general, for example, Spain is among the countries that gets 'worst grades' within the European Union. According to Eurostat data, the average recycling in Europe is 45.2. Spain is far below, reaching only 29.7. The figure is much lower also than neighboring countries. Portugal achieves 34 and France 41.7.
To change those results, there is no alternative but to modify how things are done. Implementing new models, such as the circular economy, is very important, but it is also important to make the population aware of the need to recycle and its benefits. To do this, there is no choice but to make awareness campaigns in which consumers discover these realities. The reasons why this is important are varied.
It is necessary to implement a new behaviour
Although our grandparents were much more used to reusing things or trying to give them new uses, in recent decades and in recent generations we have become accustomed to using and throwing. It's almost part of what we do automatically. We use one thing and, when we feel that we have exhausted it or that we are tired of it, we throw it away.
Therefore, to generalize recycling and for consumers to be clear about what matters and what they have to do, there is no alternative but to do reeducation work. You have to implement a behavior that, for consumers, is actually new. The awareness work is what helps to make this new reality visible and to popularize these new behavior patterns.
Recycling has an economic potential
But recycling is not just a matter of consumer ethics or a tool that will help to curb some of the problems facing the environment, but it is also an economic tool at a global level. Recycling helps to be much more efficient in consumption data and allows to reduce spending and improve economic figures.
You just have to think about the impact it has on energy expenditure to understand it. Some estimates speak of how recycling a single plastic bottle saves enough energy that would keep a light bulb on for 6 hours and how doing the same with two tons of plastic that is recycled saves a ton of oil. With all the glass recycled in Spain since 1998, enough energy has been saved, according to an estimate, equivalent to the electricity consumed by all Spanish hospitals in three years.
Awareness and education campaigns have a direct impact on our habits
And, finally, we must not forget that the campaigns of awareness and education on the importance of recycling and on how we should separate our waste are the way to raise awareness of these issues among consumers and, above all, to help them change their habits Citizens need to be convinced of the potential and importance of recycling, something that is only achieved by telling them about it.