Because recycling means saving
Separating waste at home, at work, at school……means we all win:
One of a municipality’s largest budget allocations is street cleaning and the collection and treatment of waste.
The general public and businesses pay taxes to cover these services, but currently these taxes don’t even cover 10% of the cost, and there are still municipalities that don’t have a specific tax for waste collection, and money for this purpose is collected through other concepts.
The majority of the waste that we generate is not separated properly, and ends up in the grey or residual waste bin. But in reality a large part of that waste is recyclable, and could be taken advantage of if the waste was separated correctly at home, and ended up in the correct bin for selective collection.
There is still much room for improvement in the separation of paper/cardboard and glass, but the most dramatic cases are those of packaging and organic material, the latter made worse by the fact that organic material (food, garden and plant waste, etc) counts for more than 40% of the waste we generate.
Nor should we forget the waste caused by the new technological era, which has grown enormously, for example Waste of Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), which is still separated at source for correct management (at recycling points, or at commercial establishments), but with limited success, the great majority ending up in the residual waste bin. Or textiles, an ever-growing type of waste pushed by the low-cost fashion industry, which implies low durability and quick renovation.
Every day the refuse collection lorries transport the residual waste to the Maresme recovery plant in Mataró. The treatment of thousands of tonnes of waste costs the municipalities thousands of euros annually. On the one hand, they pay the gate fee for the correct treatment of this waste, and on the other, a tax which is established by the Catalan Waste Agency. This is an ecological tax which encourages a more respectful behaviour towards the environment and drives measures of prevention and recovery of material from the waste, in such a way that the money that is collected contributes to the partial finance of selective collection in the municipalities, mainly organic material.
To change this situation, and in accordance with the European Union’s directives, the Catalan Waste agency has established the obligation to arrive at a figure of 60% for selective waste collection by the year 2020. To achieve this, it has set a progressive tax increase for waste which isn’t recycled. In this way, those municipalities that don’t selectively collect a part of their waste will be penalized through an increase in the tax.
To sum up, if we separate waste, we increase the rate of selective collection, recycle more, and reduce the amount of waste that ends up at the recovery plant. This means not only that the cost of waste treatment doesn’t increase, but the taxes we pay will be reduced.
And in the near future, what each of us does with our waste at home will have a direct effect on what we have to pay, enabling us to save a lot of money.
Separating our waste at home means we all win: of course the environment wins, but we will notice the difference to the money in our pocket more and more!
Currently the treatment of a tonne of residual waste at the recovery plant in Mataró costs 63.66 euros, but the treatment of a tonne of clean organic material has a final cost of 35 euros, so every tonne of organic material incorrectly deposited with residual waste means an extra cost in treatment of 28.66 euros.
And that a tonne of paper/cardboard correctly separated in the blue bin has a value, in terms of income, of 102.60 euros. Or that a tonne of plastic packaging for shampoo bottles or cleaning products has a value of 258.41 euros. However, if these same materials are mixed with the residual waste, they have a cost of 63.66 euros.