The logistics behind recycling

Since I came to Valencia, Spain, I recycle as much as I can. For me this is a new experience and it sounds a little silly but I´m really excited about it.

This is a process that includes the collaboration of the society, in which everyone has to make a little effort to make it real. It also involves private and public companies, which require the municipal waste as raw materials; the collaboration and contracts of the communities and municipalities of Spain; traders; and of course the important labor, discipline, and commitment of Ecoembes.

Ecoembes is the non-profit association who takes care of the environment through the recycling and the eco-design of the packaging in Spain. They make it possible to give a second life to the plastic, cans, and bricks (yellow container); cartons and paper (blue containers) that we placed in the containers. It is a large and complicated process which results in a reduction of landfills, less CO2 emissions, saving water, energy saving, and green job creation. To make it easier to understand I will explain it with the figure below that I have taken and translated from the web page of Ecoembes

Proceso Ecoembes

Resultado Ecoembes

To make it possible, Ecoembes has on the disposition to the citizens more than 500.000 containers yellow and blue, 24/7 the all year. Municipalities are the responsible for picking up the recycling containers and dropping into “selection plants” where are previously classified and then recycled.

The recycled material must be classified based on qualities and characteristics. In Spain geography, there are 96 sorting plants were packing light is separated into at least three fractions and each fraction must go to its corresponding recycler which is responsible for transforming them into new raw material. These fractions are: metals (steel and aluminum), plastics (PET, HDPE, and Plastic Film Mixture), and cartons.

It is not an easy logistic process; it takes time, precision, compromise, education, environment care, between others and all the factors involve has to be taken into account. For example, they work with indicators that take into consideration which is the most efficient way of taking the recycling materials(lateral load, igloo, back load, bagging, and others). This is a huge world, which I’m interested to know, collaborate, and discuss with anybody that feels that this is a way of making the world a better place to live.

2 thoughts on “The logistics behind recycling”

  1. I’m also from a latin country (Mexico) and when I arrived I notice the same thing. And to be honest like a citizen is not such a big effort to be conscious to do this effort knowing we can help a lot to the environment, and i’m happy that here in Spain it’s a “normal” thing to do. And you mention what i think is one of the most important factors: Education. Hope soon our country’s can have the same culture about environment.

  2. Barbara i agree with you, i also think that recycling can help us to make better and cleaner the world we live. But to be honestly, i can say that Spain is not following this fanatic way of splitting wastes. In Germany after one month living i started also to separate every piece of wastes becuase you have in front of you different garbages and all people always do it. I think if you see someone doing something “correct” and “right” you want (more) also follow him…

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