In 2019, the figure for glass packaging waste collected through the green container in Spain reached 896,450 tons. A number that marks the historical maximum recorded so far and that represents an increase of 30% in the last five years.
This is reflected in the data recently published by Ecovidrio, the non-profit entity in charge of recycling glass packaging waste in Spain, with which there is also a 6.6% increase compared to 2018.
Balearic Islands, Euskadi, and La Rioja: the communities where the most glass is recycled
Currently, Spain has some 230,950 containers for recycling glass containers. This means that there is one container for every 204 inhabitants, which is one of the best data for European countries. As a result of the Ecovidrio study, we also know that each citizen recycled, on average, about 19 kg of glass. Also, the management of more than 62,000 tons of glass must be added through 19 Urban Waste plants.
If we break down the data by communities, the Balearic Islands rank as the community that recovered the most glass, with an average of 31.6 kg / HPI. The Basque Country is the second, with 28.4 kg recycled per inhabitant. La Rioja registered an average of 28.2 Kg/inhabitant. The “Top 5” is completed by Navarra (26.6kg / hab) and Catalunya (22.5kg / hab).
On the opposite side are Castilla-La Mancha (14.2kg / inhab), Andalusia (14.4kg / inhab) and Extremadura (8.9kg / inhab), although its great growth potential is trusted. And it is that despite the clear margin for interpretable improvement due to the results, it has been in areas with less selective collection per inhabitant where the greatest growth has been experienced. For example, Extremadura and Andalusia were, precisely, the communities that most increased their volume of selective collection of glass containers through the container, with 15 and 11%, respectively.
If we zoom in on the map and look at specific cities, the ranking of the most recycling capitals is led by Donostia – San Sebastián, with 42 kg per inhabitant. In second place is Pamplona (30.7 Kg / inhab) and Bilbao and Palencia share the third position, with 23.9 kg / inhab. They are followed – almost tied – Palma de Mallorca (23.7Kg / inhab) and Barcelona (23.4Kg / inhab).
Optimism on the road to the circular economy and the fight against climate change
All in all, Ecovidrio estimates that the recycling rate for glass packaging waste, located at 72.2%, will maintain a positive evolution and achieve notable increases in the coming years. And it is that the need to evolve towards the circular economy and the fight against climate change marks a context in which the recycling of glass packaging waste is a fundamental element.
This is seen in the study, which also shows how the emission of 556,061 tons of CO2 equivalent has been avoided. An amount comparable to removing 260,000 cars from circulation, or the extraction of 1,150,470 tons of raw materials (sands, soda, limestone), which would occupy 58 times the volume of the Giralda in Seville. As well, 684,721 Mwh of energy equivalent to the energy consumption of all hospitals in Spain were also saved for two months.
Within its area of activity, PICVISA contributes to the waste recovery sector its experience accumulated over decades with its equipment and technological solutions. One of them is the ECOGLASS optical separator, which allows automatically classifying and separating various types of materials. It separates them by composition (NIR), color (VIS), and / or shape (deep learning).