January 21, 2021

Spain barely recovers 25% of plastic containers, according to Greenpeace

Spain barely recovers 25% of plastic containers, according to Greenpeace


Only 25.4% of plastic containers were recovered in Spain in 2016, according to an average of the data provided by the Autonomous Communities and City Councils, and the waste characterizations made by these administrations; a figure that contrasts with the data provided by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition that raises it to 38% and that even reaches 77% for the set of light containers, if the figure comes from Ecoembes. This is one of the conclusions of the report "Cursed Plastic: recycling is not enough" that Greenpeace has presented today. In the study, the NGO analyzes some of the recycling traps, asserting that the current system is not a panacea.

According to the information published by the Ministry, most of the plastic containers were not recycled and went to landfill (787,059 tn) or were incinerated (172,293 tn), this is 63%. If we add to this the exported containers (282,560 tn), of which there is no full guarantee that they will be recycled, as Greenpeace has verified in landfills in Malaysia, the percentage rises to more than 80%. The official information does not quantify epigraph, how many of these containers go directly to the environment and end up floating in rivers and seas or decomposing in forests.

The characterizations of our garbage bag show that 10.5% of it are disposable plastic containers. This shows the magnitude of the problem. To which must be added the inefficiencies of the waste management system, which does not guarantee that depositing the containers in the corresponding container is a guarantee of recycling. For example, small containers (less than 10 cm), plastic containers containing PVC or other complex materials, or stickers, are not recovered.

The investigation shows that there are not enough data audited by the administrations, reliable, and comparable among themselves, that allow us to approach the reality of the problem. A reality that, according to Greenpeace, is that "packaging companies, distributors and large areas have a legal obligation to recover and recycle 100% of the packaging sold, we see that it does not happen. This is a saving for these companies, not taking charge of this obligation, and supposes an extra cost for the citizenship, when having to pay for the recovery and treatment of this waste. In addition, it causes a serious problem of contamination to the environment, as every day tens of millions of plastic containers that disintegrate in the form of microplastics (less than 5 mm) are lost every day. These tiny fragments of plastic accumulate in the sea, where they are ingested by marine fauna and become part of our food chain. "

"We must radically change our consumption," said Julio Barea, head of Greenpeace's plastics campaign. After emphasizing that the responsibility for this problem rests with multinationals, Barea stressed that "we should have much more restrictive laws on the part of administrations". What can the citizen do? The purpose of using and throwing, with a change in consumer habits; buy in bulk and use refillable containers, etc.

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