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Every Spanish inhabitant generates almost 524kg of waste per year and this figure has been increasing by 6% in recent years, and according to the INE (National Statistics Institute) of September 2019, we only recycle 34.2% of urban waste in Spain. Therefore, it is essential to start changing the attitude we have with regard to recycling.
First of all, we cannot talk about recycling without bringing to mind the 3 R’s rule:
Reduce: Reduce the amount of resources we use both in production and consumption.
Reuse: Before throwing something away or even recycling it, we should consider giving it a second use.
Recycle: Turn waste into new products.
More and more people are motivated to get involved in proper recycling, even though this means a slight increase in the effort they spend on tasks such as throwing out the trash. But on the other hand, there are also people who, for various reasons (reduced space, lack of information, or long distance from recycling points), do not feel motivated to recycle.
We have created this post precisely for these people, as a spot in which they can discover the best way to recycle using easy and simple methods, thus contributing to the decarbonization of the planet.
There are different containers in use: As you probably know, trash containers are differentiated by colors so you can distinguish them at first glance. But if you still find it hard to know what kind of waste to throw into each one, a list is provided below:
Recycling centers and other containers: Anything that does not have a specific collection system must be deposited in the orange or gray container (depending on the location), such as diapers, toothbrushes, cigarette butts… except for hazardous waste (cables, batteries, oils…), which must be disposed of at the nearest recycling center. By following this link you will be able to find the right location within the Community of Madrid.
Drugs that we no longer use or that are expired would not fall into any of these categories, so in this case, it is important to know that these can be deposited at the SIGRE recycling centers located in pharmacies.
Finally, we need to point out certain products that can raise doubts when we try to recycle them properly, that is, for cases where we do not know exactly which container they belong to, or whether we are disposing of them in the right one or not; here are some examples:
Milk Briks: Milk cartons that we usually consume at home are recycled in the yellow container (plastics) because, although they are cardboard, they have an interior layer of aluminum or plastic, so their recycling process is different.
Aluminum foil: Aluminum foil and transparent film should be disposed of in the yellow container, except when these items are excessively greasy, in which case they should be thrown into the gray container with the rest of the unclassifiable waste.
Aerosols: This type of product should be recycled in the yellow container, as long as it is household size and completely empty. For larger-sized aerosols, we must dispose of them at a recycling center.
Used oil: This product is one of the most problematic when it comes to recycling and also in cases where this is not done properly. The best way to recycle used oil is to store it properly in an empty plastic bottle and then deposit it at a recycling center for proper disposal.
Masks, gloves and hydroalcoholic gels: Both masks and gloves are disposable products and should be placed in the gray container, while hydroalcoholic gel containers are usually plastic, therefore they should be placed in the yellow container. But, what happens when there is a COVID-19 positive case in the house? In this situation, the protocol is slightly different: We must first collect all these products in a plastic bag and put this bag in a second garbage bag that must be discarded in the gray container.
Syringes: Products such as syringes with needle are not recyclable and special care must be taken at the time of disposal. If the syringe has a plastic part and removable needle, the plastic part can be disposed of at a SIGRE recycling center and the needle must be properly covered and deposited in the sharp-object containers which can be found in some pharmacies and health care centers.
Coffee capsules: This is one of the products with the greatest recycling problem due to its widespread use among the population. These capsules should not be disposed of in any of the recycling containers. Many companies marketing these products have their own recycling centers and if not, we must dispose of them at the nearest recycling center.
In this regard, there are probably many other products concerning which you may have doubts, so if you any question about a specific product, feel free to leave us a remark on our blog or website and we will be happy to help you!
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