Which cities in Spain recycle the most glass?

Spain achieved a glass recycling rate of 70.1% in 2023

Glass is a fully recyclable material that can be recycled infinitely without loss of quality. Plus, it makes even more sense if we take a look at the numbers. Energy consumption drops by 3% if 10% of natural materials are replaced with waste glass. This reduces carbon dioxide CO2 emissions. However, glass recycling only makes economic sense with effective selective collection systems.

With an average recovery of around 75%, Europe is at the forefront of glass recycling. According to estimates from Ecovidrio, a non-profit organization responsible for managing the recycling of glass packaging waste, Spain achieved a glass recycling rate of 70.1% in 2023, exceeding the targets set by Europe two years in advance.

90% of the glass packaging waste recycled in Spain is collected in the green container and separated at the source, ensuring a high quality of recycling and achieving the most effective, efficient and environmentally sustainable model.

By city, San Sebastián (38.3 kg/inhabitant), Pamplona (31 kg/inhabitant), Santiago de Compostela (28.2 kg/inhabitant) and Bilbao (26.2 kg) were the leaders in the ranking of citizens’ contributions to the selective Collection of glass containers/inhabitant), Palma (25.5 kg/inhabitant), Barcelona (23.9 kg/inhabitant), Granada (22.4 kg/inhabitant), Vitoria-Gasteiz (21.9 kg/inhabitant), Girona (21.6 kg/inhabitant) and Santander (21.5). kg/inhabitant), all above the national average of 19.2 kilograms per inhabitant.

In a context where the decline in consumption and therefore production of glass containers is estimated at 4.3%, the total recovery reached 998,338 tonnes. This means that in Spain 8.6 million containers are already being recycled per day and around 6,000 containers per minute in the existing igloos throughout the territory. Specifically, each citizen deposited 19.2 kg of glass in 2023, which corresponds to 66 containers per person.

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In addition to all the glass deposited by citizens in the green containers, Ecovidrio additionally recovered 74,054 tons of glass packaging waste that was not correctly separated at the source and could be recycled at the 26 municipal waste recycling plants throughout the territory. In this way, all the material could be recovered to reintegrate it into the production cycle and prevent it from ending up in landfill.

In 2023, Ecovidrio launched customized and ultra-segmented campaigns in almost 30 municipalities, reaching more than 150,000 households, the results of which led to an increase in selective collection in these areas by more than 100%. In addition, the hospitality industry continues to be a strategic pillar of activity. In 2023, Ecovidrio visited more than 100,000 hospitality establishments and invested almost 26 million euros in the implementation of operational plans specifically designed for the sector in each municipality.

Recycling glass containers is a key part of fighting climate change and decarbonizing our economy. Thanks to glass recycling in Spain, in 2023 it was possible to avoid the emission of almost 579,036 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, equivalent to traveling around the world 147 times and saving 713,013 MWh of energy, equivalent to the energy consumption of hospitals traveling throughout Spain for 2 months. In addition, the mining of more than 1 million tons of raw materials was avoided, which is almost four times the weight of the Empire State Building.

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