The figures of recycling of packaging in Spain
Although there is still much to do when it comes to creating guidelines for recycling among Spanish citizens and although it could still be much more efficient as a society when it comes to managing our waste, citizens have become accustomed to separating certain waste. This is the case of paper, but also glass (of which 73% is recycled) or packaging. They are, at the end, the materials that have a separate container, but easily accessible in different locations. This makes it not only easier to deposit the waste, but also to remember that before removing the garbage, this separation must be made.

The latest figures from Ecoembes on packaging recycling invite to optimism. According to their data, during 2017 each inhabitant of Spain deposited an average of 13.96 kilograms of containers in the yellow container. These numbers suppose, in addition, an improvement against the figures of the previous year. In 2017, we recycled 5.76% more containers than we recycled in 2016.

To achieve this came into play more than 12,000 companies and the 8,000 municipalities that collaborate with the recycling of packaging and that employ or support the network of 378,272 yellow containers located throughout the Spanish geography. 85% of all recycled containers arrive from street containers and the remaining 15% from other collection points.

Following the statistics of Ecoembes, the Spanish average is that citizens are with a paper recycling container and another container every 100 meters. Its coverage area is already in 99% of the population. It is not surprising to discover that a quarter of everything that is already recycled in Spain is packaging.

Gracias a estos procesos de reciclaje, se han ahorrado ya 1,36 millones de toneladas de materias primas o 20,15 millones de metros cúbicos de agua y se ha evitado la emisión a la atmósfera de 1,2 millones de toneladas de CO2. 

The problems of recycling containers

But, although the numbers are good and invite to optimism, there are still many things that can be done and recycling figures can be improved. The population has to improve the way in which it deposits its waste, be much more aware of the impact that its waste has on the environment and integrate much better the recycling and the separation of garbage in its day to day. Waste managers, in turn, must also process the garbage that citizens generate better and more efficiently.  

For example, there is still much to improve in the general recycling habits of plastic (of which only 44% of all that is thrown away in Spain is recycled every year) or in recycling in general. According to Eurostat statistics, Spain is still far from being on the European level. The average waste recycling in Spain is still 33.3%. In Europe, however, 45% of all waste generated is already being recycled.

To this we must add that there are still those who doubt what should go in each container and how they should separate the garbage. The yellow container is, in fact, possibly one of those that arouse more doubts about what can or can not be included in it. Users tend to think that everything that is plastic, when in reality not all things can go in this cube and some should be deposited in other collection spaces, such as clean points.

Therefore, you should not lower your guard. Citizens' awareness and education campaigns continue to be very important, as is having the most appropriate and efficient tools and machinery to manage waste. Solutions such as Picvisa's Ecopack optical separator, for the classification of different types of plastics, allow improving the performance of waste treatment facilities and improving the overall potential in terms of recycling.
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