Society’s commitment to the transition to a circular meconomy and care of the planet has once again helped to consolidate progress in glass container recycling in Spain. 893,989 tonnes of used glass containers were recycled in 2018, up 9% on 2017, representing the biggest increase in the last decade.

There are few activities that exemplify the circular model more than glass container recycling. It converts waste into a valuable resource and helps the environment by saving raw materials and energy, as well as reducing CO2 emissions. Moreover, the process promotes economic activity and creates green jobs.

2018, a record year for glass container recycling

Society’s commitment to recycling glass containers has been and continues to be exemplary. 893,989 tonnes of used glass containers were recycled in 2018, up 9% on 2017, representing the largest annual increase in the last decade.

Of this total, 840,361 tonnes came from selective collection in the green igloo-type container, an increase of 6.5% with respect to 2017. This is excellent news and means that Spaniards recycled an average of over 18 kg of glass, the equivalent of 68 containers, per person.

If we analyse glass recycling behaviour by regions, we find the Balearic Islands at the head of the table with 30 kg/ capita, Euskadi in second place with 27.5 kg/capita, followed by La Rioja (27.5 kg/capita), Navarra (25.9 kg/capita) and Catalonia (21.3 kg/capita). Looking at the provincial capitals, we find cities such as San Sebastian, Pamplona and Barcelona occupying the top positions year after year.

In addition to selective collection by means of the green container, we managed 53,628 tonnes of glass containers in 2018 through 16 municipal solid waste (MSW) treatment plants. Glass container recovery through MSW plants is a pioneering initiative in Europe and it enables the recovery of glass containers deposited, incorrectly, by citizens in refuse bins, with the aim being to prevent these containers from ending up in landfills.

José Fuster
Director of Operations at Ecovidrio.

Published in: Nº60 FuturENVIRO May 2019