Recycling in Malaga. Part II

The previous article gave a general overview of the waste disposal system in Malaga. Without trying to teach most of you how to suck eggs the list below gives a general idea of what goes where. However do check your packaging as it is surprising what you can actually recycle in Spain, especially in the yellow bin.

How to Recycle

Yellow bin (Solo Envases) – this container is for Envases Ligeros (light packaging) which includes three main types of packaging – plastic packaging, metal packaging and cartons (tetrabriks). The yellow bin is for packaging made of PET, HDPE, PVC, flexible and shrinkable film, steel and aluminium products.

METALS –  steel and aluminium packaging includes cans used for tinned food such as tinned tomatoes, tuna, sweetcorn etc. Beer cans and even household aerosol cans such as deodorant cans and paint cans (empty).

PLASTICS – PET & HDPE plastic such as water bottles large and small, shampoo, ketchup, hygiene and cleaning bottles, bottle tops and metal tops and caps (jar lids).  Also aluminium trays, cling film, aluminium foil and even the hard packets found when buying ham etc. Crisp bags, cereal bags, frozen food bags, chocolate wrappers and plastic bags (not bin bags). Yogurt pots and butter tubs in fact most dairy tubs. Toothpaste tubes and packaging such as grated cheese bags, even the wraps around tins of peas/sweetcorn, toilet roll wrapping and even disposable plastic plates and cups. A general rule of thumb is if the ‘amarillo’ bin sign is on the package then you are good to go. Check everything you’ll be surprised what is marked and recyclable.

CARTONS – tetrabriks are often made up of a mix of materials and are used for milk, juice or caldo mostly but also include small bricks like those used for tomato frito or cream (again yellow container sign is displayed).

Plastics such as plastic toys, baby bottles or dummies, kitchen utensils, buckets, coffee shop cups, plasticised paper (wax paper used by butchers etc), straws, Tupperware, aluminium coffee capsules, silicone moulds for cooking, plastic pots, CD or DVD boxes, pens or plastic knives/forks.

Both the blue and yellow bin waste is dealt with by organisation Ecoembes which takes responsibility for this waste. Since it was set up in 1996 Ecoembes claims it has recycled 22.2 million tons of packaging with a 78.8 per cent recycling rate.

In Andalucia there are 19 selection plants for Ecoembes and 245,800 tonnes was recycled in this region last year which included 113,000 tons of plastic, 44,500 tons of metal and 86,300 tons of paper and carton including tetrabriks.

DID YOU KNOW: 80 drink cans can make a new bicycle rim whilst six Tetrabriks equals one shoe box.

Blue Bin (Papel y Cartón)– this container is suitable for all types of paper and cardboard. It must be clean and dry.

Newspapers, magazines, biscuit boxes, cereal boxes, packaging (ie: tuna packs), egg boxes, bulky cardboard, leaflets and brochures, birthday cards (plain cards and glitter free) and envelopes.

Milk or juice tetrabriks (they go in the yellow bin), till receipts, paper towels or serviettes or pizza boxes (they go in the grey bin)

DID YOU KNOW: Eight cereal boxes recycled can make a book.

Green Dome bin or bottle bank (Vidrio) – this is for glass packaging. Glass is 100 per cent recyclable. Recycled glass saves between 25 and 32 per cent of the energy that would have been used to produce the new glass equivalent and means less demand on silica sand extracted from mines to make glass in the first place.

Beer or wine bottles or glass produce jars such as jam or condiment jars plus cologne and perfume bottles (cleaned) are acceptable.

Light bulbs, mirrors, ashtrays, any type of ceramic, metal lids (from the jars), drinking glasses or plates (punto limpo for these) or any corks or bottle tops. Please separate from bottles.

The company Ecovidrio manages all the recycling of glass packaging waste in Spain. The company was founded in 1997 with the aim of increasing glass recycling. The first green dome bin was installed in Barcelona in 1982 and today there are over 225,000 green dome bins throughout the country. Seven out of every 10 glass packaging is now recycled in Spain and more than 11 million tonnes of glass waste has been recycled since 1998. Over 894,000 tonnes was recycled last year in Spain and each person recycles 18kg of glass on average per year (around 68 bottles).

In Andalucia there are over 33,600 green dome bins which collected over 102.7 million kilograms of glass last year. In the Malaga province there are 7,460 bins which collected over 26.8 million kilograms of glass last year.

DID YOU KNOW: By recycling just THREE glass bottles it saves enough energy to run a washing machine three times or charge your smartphone for a whole year.

The Orange bins are for domestic waste oils (Aceite). Old and use oils can be recycled in the orange bins within a plastic bottle. More than four litres of oil waste is generated each year per person every year. Old oil can be used to create biodiesel and products such as soaps.  

Vegetable oils left over from the kitchen from fried foods, fats and roasts, oil from canned foods, lard or spoiled and expired fats. 

Industrial oil such as motor oil, industrial grease or petroleum based oils

The Grey or sometimes Green Bin is for Organic rubbish (Residuos Orgánicos) so basically all non-recyclable waste. Grey bin rubbish is transported to the various landfill sites. Any biodegradable waste is sorted and then organic waste is spread into the ground as landfill.  

Finally the local municipal Tip (Punto Limpio) is where you can take any other types of waste such as furniture, wood, mattresses or appliances. These can be deposited at any of 26 Punto Limpios around the Malaga region or via collection (residents can request from some town councils for items to be collected).

Also visit: Recycling in Malaga. Part I

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