Recyclia, who pioneered this management strategy in 2012, analyses its impact ten years later

Recyclia, pionera en la instauración en España de esta estrategia de gestión en 2012, analiza su impacto tras diez años de funcionamiento

The management model of several collective waste management systems operating under a single administrative entity has enabled this activity to be optimised by 30% in Spain. This is the conclusion of a study carried out by Recyclia to analyse this type of model. The model was first implemented in Spain a decade ago for the management of batteries and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), through Recyclia’s environmental foundations Ecopilas, Ecofimática and Ecoasimelec.

The conclusions of the Recyclia study indicate that this model, subsequently adopted by different actors operating in this market, has not only enabled lower costs, but has also helped to make existing or newly created systems flexible and adaptable so that they can manage new types of waste in accordance with market needs and trends. Moreover, the model has enabled the creation of synergies in the management of electronic equipment and batteries.

In the case of Recyclia, which focuses on the management and recycling of electronic equipment, this has enabled a significant reduction in the time required to manage waste streams from new markets, such as photovoltaic panels and electric vehicle batteries, amongst others.

According to Recyclia, the organisation’s capacity for dialogue with public authorities, the sharing of knowledge and access to R&D in the field of recycling, and the use of a management capacity applicable to all types of waste are key elements of this model in terms of driving the recycling sector. Added to this is professional training and a capacity for job creation, which Recyclia sees as vital in a sector with an increasingly significant socio-economic weight in the green economy. The organisation also considers it essential to avail of synergies in, for example, the implementation of environmental awareness campaigns. 

Recyclia highlights the fact that the Ecopilas foundation collects 370,425 household batteries per day, batteries deposited directly by consumers at over 46,000 collection points deployed throughout Spain for this type of waste.

This management model has enabled Recyclia to manage over 323,000 tonnes of WEEE and more than 45,000 tonnes of batteries since 2012, of which 58% (26,400 tonnes) have been household batteries. These figures put Spain in fifth place in Europe in terms of the volume of this type of waste managed, according to Eucobat, the European association of national collection schemes for batteries. The model has also aroused interest outside Spain. Over the last ten years, Recyclia representatives have been invited to over 15 countries, including Chile, Argentina, Ukraine and Montenegro, to explain the organisation’s waste management strategy at different forums. 

According to José Pérez, CEO at Recyclia, “the impact and the results we have had in our first decade show that we were absolutely right in taking the pioneering decision to adopt the legal figure of an administrative entity in the e-waste and battery recycling sector in our country. Moreover, the effectiveness of this model has allowed us to successfully address challenges posed by situations as unforeseeable and difficult to predict as the paralysation of production arising from Covid-19 or the current invasion of Ukraine”.