26 environmental organizations denounce Spain before Brussels for low recycling rates

26 environmental organizations denounce Spain before Brussels for low recycling rates

Antonio Paniagua

Thursday, March 2, 2023, 1:20 p.m.

Twenty-six environmental organizations have denounced Spain before the European Commission for failing to comply with community recycling and waste management objectives, which establish the obligation to achieve a reuse rate of 50% with a view to 2020. That year, according to data from the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, only 40.5% of the waste was recycled.

A couple of years ago, the alliance presented this same initiative, but the European organization claimed that it could not be processed with provisional data. Now that the official statistics confirm the worst omens, the complaint continues its course. If Brussels admits it, it could become another file that the European Commission opens against Spain, such as the one that has materialized due to poor water treatment and which has resulted in a million-dollar fine.

Conservationists take it for granted that things will get worse and expect inaction to continue for years to come. The community reuse goals for 2025 set a recycling rate of 55% and 60% for 2030. «Eurostat’s progress places the recycling ratio in Spain for 2021 at 36.7%, so the data for 2020 It is not that it improves, but that it goes down, “said Carlos Arribas, from Ecologistas en Acción.

The plaintiff entities also allege that from 2027 the recycling of biostabilized waste (the organic material obtained from mixed waste treatment plants) will no longer be computed. Currently this type of garbage accounts for 40% of the waste recovered in Spain. In this way, when this type of garbage is no longer counted, the proportion of recycling in Spain will only be 24.3%.

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Stuck situation

For Eva Saldaña, director of Greenpeace, the complaint is a “call for help” in the face of a situation that has been stuck for years. Saldaña stressed that, even before the royal decree on packaging was approved on December 27, the PP presented a bill that calls for lowering the objectives of prevention, reuse and recycling, considering them “too ambitious.” “We cannot trust that the Waste Law and the rest of the regulations will be complied with in the face of this tactic of hindering any small advance,” said Saldaña.

The organizations ask that Spain put an end to the dumping of untreated materials and to develop a Container Return and Return System (SDDR) that makes it possible to reduce the number of wastes that end up in landfills. In addition, in the complaint, environmentalists take the opportunity to request greater transparency in the sector.

The complainant entities present commitments and real solutions to the Government. The coordinator of Friends of the Earth, Blanca Ruibal, demanded to implement the separate collection of organic matter in a definitive way and to regulate the flows that do not even have a system of Extended Producer Responsibility. “We are going to continue denouncing the Spanish State as many times as necessary until this situation changes, because waste reduction is key to the development of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda and are intrinsically linked to the climate emergency.”

Among the entities that adhere to the complaint are, among others, Ecologists in Action, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Returns, Clean Ocean Project and the Rezero collective.

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  • Themes
  • European Comission
  • Greenpeace
  • Ministry for Ecological Transition
  • Pollution
  • recycling



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