Recycling in Spain

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BENIDORM
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Recycling in Spain

Postby BENIDORM » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:28 am

First, I have to say that all aspects of recycling here in Spain have dramatically improved since we first moved here in 1989.

In our village there are ample containers provided in different accessible areas, and they are emptied regularly and kept clean.
I've also noticed that many of the locals do now separate the rubbish and put the recyclable items in the correct bins, and also noted that the actual waste bins are less full and are cleaner.
There is of course still plenty of room for improvement, with some people still throwing empty bottles and wrappers on the streets, however a lot less than in previous years, and I've noticed that more locals are now correctly disposing of their dog's numbers twos...Wow.
I've also been watching the Sky TV highlight on ocean waste, now that really is a big problem, the 'Costas' beaches are often heaving with waste washed in and left behind by tourists.
But it really is a problem that has been around for a long time, particularly in the Med. which has been forever used as a watery grave for waste.
Fifty'ish years ago I was serving in submarines and I remember once when we surfaced off Gibraltar and the entire submarine was covered in a disgusting amount of waste, we dived immediately and washed off the offending mess !
Watching the world problem in the oceans I'm worried that it really is a major problem for humans and fish and animals with so much toxic material arriving in the food chain.
I always have an empty carrier bag with me and try to collect recyclable plastic etc and put it in the correct containers, not an easy task when struggling to control 3 lively Podencos.
A few weeks ago we were walking on Salobrena beach, collecting plastic bottles etc as we walked, and I spotted another couple doing the same....of course ..fellow Brits.!
Anyway I'm sure my fellow forum members are recycling correctly.?
And what is the recycling situation in your area ?
Regards,
Gordon the Womble.. :oops:

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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby Miro » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:16 pm

I used to go Wombling, actually on Wimbledon common no less, when I was a kid! :thumbup:

I've had a bit of a grumble on other threads about some of the things we're finding hard to adjust to here back in the UK, so to balance things a bit, I'd like to put on record that in terms of doggy doos on pavements, there's simply no contest; I've not spotted one mess here yet, but in Torremolinos you had literally to tiptoe through the t*rds. :evil:
I've not ventured out to the sea here yet, and truth be told, am very unlikely to ever, but I can't imagine it can be any nastier than the water at many CDS beaches; it's years since I've swam in the sea there, I just can't stomach dodging all the scum & waste that's floating around, and am amazed that the EU can award blue flags to beaches where swimming in the sea appears to me to be a health hazard.
Likewise litter on the streets (not to mention on cafe floors). As for recycling, there were glass & paper bins by us in Torrie, and they were getting used, but there is obviously no real effort to enforce correct disposal, as in the UK. Much as I want to do the right thing, I thought I'd struggle, after years of just putting everything in the same bag and then throwing it in the main wheelie bin in the street every night, but I've now got used to separating my waste into the different bins, and even the alternate weekly collections haven't proved troublesome. Since everyone here is well used to the system in place, it does seem to me that in terms of separating waste for recycling, then, that the UK is quite far ahead of Spain. :thumbup:
However....
I was chatting to a relative in Cumbria the other day, who has a friend working at a local waste disposal site, and he told him that regardless of which truck comes in - the recyclable or non-recyclable truck - he just shovels it all into the same big hole for landfill :wtf:
Now that's a big concern...
(This was near Sellafield, where the sheep glow green, so maybe they just figure it can't get any worse, so WTF)
Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often

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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby olive » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:55 pm

I saw an item on Sky the other day.

Britain like many other countries exports plastics for recycling to five main destinations. Sadly 50% of that just gets dumped without being recycled.

Locally recycling seems to work but I often open a general waste bin near the recycling to see stuff that could easily have been recycled. We often encounter absolutely full cardboard/paper bins and end up taking ours back home. That is just a problem with frequency of the council emptying the bins.

A bigger problem to me is the countryside. Not just the roadsides on major routes but on farmers land. They still seem to think that the glass fairy collects their empties. I carry a poly bag when out walking . I stopped the car the other day to pick up a neatly bagged and knotted carrier bag full of "stuff". Picked it up and the bag disintegrated. I soon found out what the stuff was...... What is the mentality of a person that neatly bags and then throws out of a window. How much harder would it be to use a bin?

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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby Wicksey » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:08 pm

Agree with you Olive ... particularly the neat packages of rubbish thrown out into the campo. Whenever any work is done, replacing pipes, planting trees etc, all the packaging and waste is just chucked down by the side of the track. Everyone in this area passes by the main bin on the way out back to the road but it never dawns on anyone to take their rubbish with them. We recycle everything but we do wonder if it all just ends up in the same landfill. We often find bottles in the rubbish bin which is right next to the bottle bank, and cardboard in the yellow bins etc etc

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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby gerryh » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:40 pm

Outside the village near to where I live are variuos recycling bins.
I was there recycling our rubbish.
A car left the village, drove past he recycling bins and continued down the road to a general bin.
He deposited several cardboard boxes in the bin, turned around, drove past the recycling bins and back into the village.
Would have saved himself time and fuel if he had used the recycling bin.
Cheers
Gerry
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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby Gasman » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:42 pm

Gordon - get your podencos trained!!! :idea:
I also carry spare plastic bags (for the poo if required too) to collect any local plastic etc, but to save my aching back, I have trained our GSD to pick up the bottles and pass them to me! :thumbup: She thinks it is a great game and loves to help with a job. :clap: She will also carry the full bag to the nearest recycling bin. Save your back, train a dog!! :lol:
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:wave:

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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby BENIDORM » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:43 pm

Miro, So you probably influenced the writers of the Wombles series, I will have to call you Uncle Miro from now on.. :lol:

I'm sure that wherever you go in the world, recycling methods and importance will differ, and that's why I asked for other members reports on facilities available in their localities.
I've been involved in one recycling form or another since I was a small child, probably starting as a very junior beachcomber on the beaches of New Brighton, and also I wouldn't recommend swimming in the Mersey or the Irish Sea, but not because of pollution, but because of the tides and currents etc are much too dangerous.!
The big difference between the Spanish (Med.) and UK beaches is the fact that the UK tidal system washes the beaches twice a day !
As for much of the collected waste being added to landfill, well I believe that also happens in Spain and probably most countries, and I think that costs will dictate this as it is a very labour intensive process.
I agree that UK residents are probably well trained now into putting their recycling into the correct containers, probably motivated by the fact that they receive fines if they don't.!
I really don't like to see the dozens of containers on view in each street though, a real eyesore in my opinion, and having general waste collected every few weeks and longer in some areas is asking for problems with rats, cockroaches and litter blowing around when some idiot knocks the containers over...

Olive,
I also get annoyed when I see rubbish dumped in the countryside,sheer laziness and UK I know has a big problem with 'fly-tipping' ,surely most people understand that they should be looking after the planet that we live on ?

I believe that most recycling waste is collected now by private companies and cardboard is subject to very volatile market prices and sometimes probably costs more to collect than they can sell it for, not correct, 'but a fact of life', unfortunately.
And don't forget everyone, squash your plastic bottles before you take them to the recycling containers, easy if you don't know how, just take the top off, stand on the bottle and then replace the top,....saves a lot of space for you..and the collectors.!
Happy Wombling Folks... :wave:
Regards,
Gordon

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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby Flexo » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:54 pm

It probably has gotten better but unless you have some insight in how it works at the recycling station you don't really know how good it actually works.

For example: here in my community there is really only organic and plastic/metal (same container) unless you go somewhere else on the street for bottles and cartons. The problem is that organic has the lowest impact on the environment when it comes to recycling, whereas plastic/ metal has medium. If you place the plastic and metal in the same container then you reduce the effectiveness dramatically and then you can almost aswell put the organic with the plastic and metal. I have also noted plenty of spanaiards here put plastic, metal and glass in the organic container (!) which is just stupid.

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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby Miro » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:27 pm

Perhaps it's just down to a lack of education. It took me a while to understand the difference between organic & recyclable; I assumed organic meant stuff like potato peelings, egg shells etc., which surely are biodegradable and therefore would do no harm if put into the ground - but not if they're in plastic rubbish bags, which we're advised to do in order to keep odours and pests to a minimum. But plastic bottles, on the other hand, are recyclable so "good" for the environment. :crazy:
Incidentally, I always crushed all plastic bottles before binning them in Spain - but here we're advised specifically not to - or cans, tins and other containers, because apparently the machinery which sorts the recyclable waste into glass, plastic and paper/carton can only do so if it can determine whether an item is 3 or 2 dimensional - i.e. if you crush bottles too flat, the machinery will think it's carton. Perhaps our council is quite modern, and less labour intensive. Over 20 years ago, living in the US, our local supermarket had a machine that would swallow your plastic bottles, crush 'em, and spew out a few cents in return; absolutely the best way to get people to recycle - a fun game, and you get paid!

BENIDORM wrote:Miro, So you probably influenced the writers of the Wombles series

Uncle Gordon, much as I would love to take the credit (and the royalties), it's the other way round - The Wombles influenced me to go out on the common collecting litter. Where are they now, I wonder? I hope children's TV today does something similar.

BENIDORM wrote:I really don't like to see the dozens of containers on view in each street though, a real eyesore in my opinion, and having general waste collected every few weeks and longer in some areas is asking for problems with rats, cockroaches and litter blowing around when some idiot knocks the containers over...

Couldn't agree more about the ugly bins all over the streets, and whoever chose purple for the bins in Liverpool needs shooting. Thankfully up here at the posh end of Merseyside (West Lancs to you!!), Sefton council use only grey, green & brown - and also, of course, we have no yobbos knocking over bins like down on Cannibal Farm and such areas :lol:
Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often

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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby Devils Advocate » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:35 pm

I'm in West lancs too. I hope you've paid your 30 quid and got the sticker for the green waste bin :mrgreen:
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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby Miro » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:49 pm

Well, I would have been in W.Lancs 50 years ago, but for now I'm in Sefton, Merseyside, so unfortunately I have no idea what the £30 sticker is. Our green bin is purely for garden waste. Or am I missing something? :?
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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby Devils Advocate » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:01 pm

Ah, I thought you were in West Lancashire. The West Lancs Council decided to slap a 30 quid surcharge on for Green/Garden waste from June 2017. People who pay get a sticker to signify this haha.
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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby Miro » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:15 pm

Ah, other relatives in Runcorn mentioned this, so presumably Cheshire are doing it, too. Our garden is mostly paved, any garden waste we produce could be dropped at the dump (at the appropriately named Foul Lane waste disposal site :-) ) once a year, so if they introduce a charge here, I'll happily return my green bin.
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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby BENIDORM » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:23 pm

Gasman ...Good tip regarding Podenco training, perhaps I can send them to you for training ?. :lol:

Interesting point about not squashing the bottles etc., however I was of the understanding that the sorting machines can recognise metal from plastic etc....Maybe my info is outdated.?
We will still continue to crush them otherwise I would be going to the bins twice a day instead of every other day.! :lol:

In the 1980's , just before we came to Spain I did actually run a Recycling Centre Project, for 3 years to be exact.
I was 'approached ' by the local council to see if it was viable for an independent company to make it profitable to recycle,instead of land-filling everything.
We did make it work and handed it back to the council after the 3 years and they lasted less than a year and reverted to land-filling it again.!
I actually went to Austria, Germany and Holland to study the methods they used...Austria was by far the best.
The items that we managed to recycle was immense from all grades of cardboard/paper to all metals , all items of clothing even carpets and feather pillows.
I installed 'work stations' and trained the workforce to identify and sort the items, we even had 2 girls removing buttons from clothing which couldn't be reused and another making 'cut down' shorts from jeans.
It really was labour intensive and some areas only yielded a small profit, but others made good profits and my aim was to prove that most discarded items could be recycled, sometimes sold on 'as is' and others to be processed.
Because I'd always been involved in the antiques business I was also able to 'spot' collectables and valuable items, and obviously this area made it very viable .
It really 'Opened my Eyes' and I learned so much more about my antiques collecting passion.
I drive Mrs.B 'potty' because I continually investigate possibilities of reusing instead of discarding everything......
I could write for ages about this subject, but don't want to bore everyone, so I'll stop.! :oops:
Regards,
Gordon

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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby Miro » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:00 pm

Well this Womble finds it very interesting!
Shouldn't councils be delivering all this stuff to the nearest prisons, for prisoners to do this labour intensive, but surely satisfying & rewarding, work? Just a thought. Maybe that would be violating their 'ooman rights :roll:
You will be pleased to know that in the house we bought here, the garage had been converted to a "leisure" room, with Kingspan insulated panels used to raise the floor, which, having converted the garage back into a room to keep my rarely used car, have found their way into the loft as extra insulation there. Also, the fire door which had been installed in this pointless room is now a very sturdy workbench at the end of the garage; some wardrobes which were totally out of place in the utility room are now storage (mainly for her water & my beer) in the garage; our 20 year old IKEA pine bed frame which would have been totally out of place in our new bedroom received a couple of coats of paint and now looks brand new and perfectly matches the rest of the furniture; all our packing boxes from our move were sold on eBay for a token 15 quid, and are probably on their way as I type this from Lancashire to Cape Town....very little has gone to waste here, I am pleased to say :thumbup:
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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby patricia » Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:27 pm

Always pick up plastic bottles and bags if I see them when I am walking and also on the beach I pick up the dog ends that people leave there as well as the plastic bottles etc.
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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby TorreDelAguila » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:20 pm

The southern Spanish (around here, anyway) are just the laziest and untidiest b*ggers ever encountered.
The Algarrobo to Competa road has around one discarded can/bottle every metre, obviously thrown from vehicles into the roadside ditch.
Organic recycle bins are full of mixed waste - including plastic, metal and paper - with no attempt to separate it.
The campo is regularly used by farmers and workmen alike as a dumping ground for lunch debris, including torn-open tuna cans and polyester bottles.
Cement mixer trucks wash out their drums, and spit the contents out on tracks and already-concreted roads.
Cigarette ends, still alight, are flicked out of vehicle windows.
Sweet wrappers, cigarette packets and cans are tossed out of vehicle windows on motorways.

It's my guess that it's these same guys that phone and text while driving.
What is going on between the ears? If there's anything there to be going on in, that is...

Sometimes we pick up just discarded rubbish, and return it to the owner's garden, car window, truck cab...
A torrent of abuse and physical threats is the usual response.
It happens in the UK too, but not in a good few other northern European countries.
Mexico, I remember, was a darn sight cleaner.

It may be something to do with how well or badly a society treats its citizens . . .
Chris

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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby patricia » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:29 pm

I often see them throw packets and wrappings out of the car or when they are walking along the road just throw them down on the ground. I presume it is because it is the norm and there are not enough warnings. I have never seen one notice about littering anywhere and the dog mess debacle has only just going and it is only in the past few years that there are now signs up to try to stop people from allowing their dogs to foul the pavements, however that doesnt seem to have any effect as everywhere you go there is dogs mess.
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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby BENIDORM » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:06 am

Some interesting comments, Thank You..!

I have been asked if I know what happens to donated clothing etc..
So, ....If you have a 'bag' collection from your home or place your unwanted clothing in a 'clothing bank', it will be collected by a private company who will process the items and make a donation to the charity that is usually named on the leaflet/bin. ( This system is in use everywhere UK-Spain included )
Many people believe that they are donating directly to a charity and in most cases this is not so.
All of the items are graded, for instance clothing will be ..'Nearly new' ( this is also graded into 'Designer/ Grade 1 ), then other grades will include export quality ( lower grade)..to places like Africa-India ).
Worn out and damaged items will be sold to various processing firms who will recover various fibres ( woven wool and blends will be made into flock which can be used for seat /mattress filling etc.)
Woolen knitted items can be reclaimed and the fibres re-used for some types of manufacture ( usually made into woven material ).
Cashmere wool commands a high re-cycling price....Polyester-Crimplene fibres lower prices.
Cotton items are cut into 'wiping rags' still more popular than paper etc. with many end users.
The items sent to Third-World countries are purchased by merchants who Sell the items to 'poor people' !
In India I've actually visited a processing unit where workers remove zips, buttons', motifs, buckles etc. and even the thread for reuse .( cheap labour )
Well that it a very 'potted version', but hope that it is of interest to someone.

As to ethics, the 'giving' person has to decide if they are happy to donate their items for recycling and saving the planet, and maybe helping many unscrupulous traders around the world take advantage of poor people, personally I'm happy to donate and hope that I'm helping to save the planet and helping poor people even if only a little.
Regards,
Gordon

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Re: Recycling in Spain

Postby chrissiehope » Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:42 pm

I'm afraid I never use the bags posted through my letterbox for the company that is printed on them, I turn them inside out & use them for items I give to my 'regular' guy. This way I know exactly what I am supporting :-)
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