The Spanish Association of Public Cleaning and Environmental Care Companies (ASELIP) warns that non-compliance will lead to sanctions for Spain. The investments required should focus on new technologies and infrastructure to maximise waste recovery and recycling, as well as on implementing electric mobility in municipal service fleets.
The Spanish Association of Public Cleaning and Environmental Care Companies(ASELIP) is calling for investment of 10,000 million euros from Next Generation Funds to meet EU recycling targets and the United Nations 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals. This figure is well above the amount currently envisaged in the General State Budget.
23 million tonnes of municipal waste is generated annually in Spain, of which 36% is recycled, 13% is recovered in the form of energy and 51% is landfilled. These percentages are well below the targets set by the European Union’s Circular Economy Action Plan, which calls for 65% of municipal waste to be recycled and landfilling to be reduced to 10% by 2035.
ASELIP, which is made up of FCC Medio Ambiente, Urbaser, Cespa (Ferrovial Servicios), SAV (Agricultores de la Vega), Valoriza Medioambiente (Sacyr), OHL Servicios INGESAN, Contenur, Acciona and ASCAN SERVICIOS URBANOS, warns that failure to meet these targets will be viewed as legal non-compliance by the EU and will result in significant penalties for Spain. Spain has already missed the interim target set out in the current Waste and Contaminated Land Act to recycle 50% of municipal waste by 2020, and the country faces the challenge of doubling the current recycling rate and reducing landfilling by a factor of five.
The association proposes to allocate the funds requested to two main lines of investment: research into technologies and the construction of infrastructures to maximise the recovery of the resources contained in waste and thus achieve EU 2035 recycling and landfilling targets; and the implementation of electric mobility in municipal service fleets to achieve cleaner and more sustainable cities.
ASELIP considers it very important to take into account that electrifying a fleet of around 20,000 medium- and heavy-duty vehicles could mean an annual carbon footprint reduction of around 520,000 tonnes for Spanish cities, the equivalent of planting around 1.6 million trees each year. It would also mean energy savings of 4,400 GWh per year, equivalent to the consumption of a city with a population of 1.2 million.
As regards recycling and landfilling targets, ASELIP proposes investing in the construction of new recycling plants and in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of existing plants. Moreover, the association is seeking investment in the research of innovative technologies to develop industrial recycling and recovery infrastructures to produce more and better secondary raw materials (SRM). ASELIP is also committed to improving and increasing the efficiency of selective collection, and adding new streams, such as the organic fraction, the textile fraction, cooking oils and hazardous household waste. Amongst other things, this involves investing in more equipment and associated technology to ensure that targets are met.
In order to raise public awareness of the importance of availing of this opportunity to transform cities and waste management in Spain through investment in research and technological development, the association has drawn up a strategic manifesto that includes all the above-mentioned measures.
ASELIP believes that it is vital for Spain to avail of the opportunity afforded by the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan to invest in electric mobility for municipal services, and in waste recycling and recovery infrastructure. Moreover, the association sees this as a great opportunity to create highly-skilled jobs and drive the economy, not only during the construction period, but also during the operation of the facilities.