Spain reinforces commitment to circular economy and recycles 1.3 million tonnes of packaging waste in 2016

Ecoembes recently celebrated 20 years of caring for the environment through recycling by presenting the results for 2016, which saw recycling rates increase by 4% on 2015 and the prevention of 1 million tonnes in CO2 emissions. Domestic packaging, which accounts for 8% of all municipal waste, was once again been the waste type with the highest recycling rate in Spain. By region, Navarra was the autonomous community that recycled most kilograms per capita, with respect to both yellow and blue containers.

Spanish citizens are increasingly aware of the importance of the environment, a fact reflected in the figures of Ecoembes, the non-profit environmental organisation that promotes the circular economy through recycling. According to Ecoembes figures, 1,351,903 tonnes of packaging waste was recycled in Spain in 2016, up 4% on the previous year.

This result brings the recycling rate for packaging waste managed by Ecoembes to 76%. Thus, packaging continues to be the municipal solid waste type with the best recovery figures in Spain, a fact which consolidates the position of Ecoembes as a benchmark in the area of recycling.

These figures have been achieved thanks to the commitment of society as a whole to correctly depositing packaging waste in the yellow and blue containers, as well as the efforts and involvement of public authorities and businesses.

This cooperative work is also reflected in the figures by material type. By category, the recycling rate for metal containers (soft drinks and tinned food containers) was 84.8% in 2016, while the figure for paper & board was 82.3%. 66.5% of plastic packaging was recovered. All these figures are higher than the targets set for 2025 in the European Commission’s Circular Economy Package.

The citizen at the heart of the model

The recycling of packaging would not be possible without the commitment of all citizens. In 2016, each citizen deposited 13.2 kg in the yellow container (plastic packaging, cans and tetra-pak containers), up 4% on 2015, and 15.5 kg in the blue container (paper and cardboard packaging), up 2.7% on the previous year. In other words, an average of 1,081 containers per person was deposited in the yellow container and 628 in the blue container.

This commitment is also reflected at regional level. The citizens of Navarra, for example, deposited the highest number of kg per person in the yellow container (20.7 kg/capita), followed by Madrid (20.4 kg/capita) and the Balearic Islands (18.8 kg/capita). Navarra was also the Autonomous Community with the highest amount of waste deposited in the blue container (38.6 kg/capita), followed by the Balearic Islands (32.4 kg/capita) and the Basque Country (31.6 kg/capita).