Catalan homes recycled 80% of cardboard, paper and plastic packaging in 2013
In 2013, 80.7% of cardboard, paper and plastic packaging used in Catalan households was recycled. This rate is 2 percentage points lower than that registered in 2012 due to people stealing waste from recycling containers, according to representatives from the industry. Catalonia's overall recycling rate is 38% but the Catalan Government aims to make this 60% by 2020. The level of paper and plastic recycling by Catalan homes is almost 9 percentage points higher than the Spanish average (71.9%), and quite close to the leading countries in Europe such as Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic, whose households recycle around 85% of these products. Representatives from waste and recycling organizations spoke positively of the efforts made, but stressed the need to reach all the population and economic sectors.
Barcelona (ACN).- In 2013, Catalan citizens recycled a total of 222,577 tonnes of lightweight plastic packaging, paper and cardboard, 80.7% of the total number of these products used by households. This represents 2 percentage points less than the recycling made in 2012, but does not take into account thefts of recycling material from street containers and lower domestic consumption caused by the economic crisis. However, the level of recycling of paper and plastic by Catalan citizens is almost 9 points higher than the Spanish average (71.9%), and very close to the leading countries in Europe, such as Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic, which recycle around 85% of these materials. The Director General of the Waste Agency of Catalonia, Josep Maria Tost, and the CEO of recycling company Ecoembes, Óscar Martín, made a valuable assessment of the recycling made by Catalans last year. However, they committed themselves to reaching out to those citizens who still do not separate their waste as well as all the economic sectors.
On average, each Catalan citizen used the separate yellow containers for plastic, metal and tetra paks to recycle 11.4 kilograms of waste over 2013, 21% more than the Spanish average (which includes Catalan figures). He or she also used the blue containers for paper and cardboard to recycle 18.7 kilograms of waste, 28% above the Spanish average.
Tost and Martin both praised the public-private collaboration for their efforts in increasing the recycling rate in the domestic and small-business sectors. With this in mind, they stressed the importance of town halls and county councils, local waste management organizations, the Waste Agency of Catalonia (ARC) and private companies in increasing recycling figures. Furthermore, companies producing packaging have reduced the quantity of products produced and they have improved their design and capacities for recycling and reuse. In fact, the production of packaging was reduced by 2.5% during 2013.
Martin said that 100% of the Catalan population have access to recycling bins, of which there are 77,000 in total distributed throughout the entire territory. Of this entire population, 87% of Catalans separate all or almost all their waste everyday, which is 15 percentage points higher than the average in Spain. Two thirds of municipal waste is domestic, while the remaining third is from small businesses and the hospitality industry.
On a larger scale, the total percentage of all recycling, including that of industrial, glass and organic waste, is 38%, and the goal for 2020 is to reach 60%, even though the European Union only requires an average of 50%.