Domestic packaging recycling up 3.5% – once again the most recycled MSW fraction in Spain

In 2017, Spain continued to advance towards a more circular society through the recycling of domestic packaging. Proof of this is provided by the results unveiled by Ecoembes on May 17. Last year, 1,399,582 tonnes of domestic packaging were recycled, 3.5% up on 2016. This figure confirms the upward trend for the recycling of waste deposited in the yellow (plastic packaging, cans and tetra-briks) and blue (paper and board packaging) containers.

With a recycling rate of 77.1%, domestic packaging consolidates its position as the most recycled fraction of MSW in Spain, accounting for 1/4 of the total (29.7%, according to Eurostat figures).

In this regard, and with the aim of progressing towards a circular society and achieving compliance with European legislation, Óscar Martín, CEO at Ecoembes, speaking during the presentation, highlighted the need to lay the foundations to enable all waste currently not managed appropriately to be recycled: “In Spain, only 29.7% of the MSW generated is recycled, a figure driven by Ecoembes, which, despite representing only 8% of this waste, is responsible for almost 25% of the 1,399,582 tonnes recycled”. 

By material type, the recycling rate for plastic packaging was 69.7%, up 3 points on the previous year. Metal container recycling was up 2% to 86.7%, while the recycling rate for paper and cardboard packaging deposited in the blue container was 81.1%.

Citizen commitment

In order to continue encouraging greater and better citizen recycling, the #VerdesPorDentroYPorFuera (GreenInside&Outside) initiative was launched by Ecoembes on the same day. Municipal councils from all over Spain supported the initiative by illuminating their most significant buildings with green lighting. Thus, on the 17th of May, buildings such as the Palacio de Cibeles in Madrid, the City Hall in Malaga and the Campoamor Theatre in Oviedo were lit up to mark the occasion.

Contribution of recycling to the environment

The recycling of packaging in 2017 afforded a number of direct environmental benefits. 1.3 million tonnes of raw materials were saved,along with 20.15 million cubic metres of water (equivalent to the average amount of water drunk by the entire population in 7 months) and 5.8 million megawatts/hour of electricity.

There was also a reduction in CO2 emissions of 1.2 million tonnes, the equivalent of the emissions that would be caused if 1/3 of the population of Spain travelled from Madrid to Barcelona by road.