Spain’s Waste Act champions recycling ‘made in Europe’

Jan 18, 2013

Large retail outlets, banks, hotel chains, service companies, town councils … from now on all such entities are able to legally demand that their recyclable waste materials be finally recycled in Europe, according to the new Spanish Waste Act, which was passed on 29 November 2012.

According to David Barrio, director of Recycling at ASPAPEL, “this new legislation upholds the legality of Recycling ‘Made in Europe’ and gives Spanish generators of recyclable waste materials powers to decide on the final destination of their waste”.

The 2011 Waste Act was the first bill in the Spanish law to introduce the possibility of town councils giving priority to recycling within the European Union. Now, with the recently passed Law on urgent measures concerning environmental matters, which amends the previous Waste Act, the possibility of applying recycling in proximity and circular economy is extended to all producers or initial holders of recyclable waste.

The European recycling society and the circular economy

As David Barrio explains: “Thanks to proximity recycling, the European recycling society turns the 6 tonnes of waste that each European citizen produces in a year into an opportunity to create wealth and green employment in Europe, in a sustainable, efficient and environmentally responsible manner, thereby giving value to the significant efforts made across Europe in recent years in terms of waste recovery”.

Recycling all kinds of waste materials (paper, glass, metal…) and turning them into new products manufactured by the European industry leads to the creation of a circular economy, which in turn builds up a larger industrial sector and creates wealth and employment precisely where the efforts and investments have been made to set up efficient waste collection systems. Furthermore, it guarantees that all recycling will be carried out in accordance with stringent EU environmental requirements.

By developing a European Recycling Society through measures such as this new Spanish law, the EU estimates that over 400,000 jobs could be created in Europe between now and 2020.

The Spanish paper industry supports initiatives in favour of the circular economy

“The Spanish paper industry,” continues David Barrio, “supports this initiative in favour of the circular economy with our own significant and expanding recycling capacity. Nowadays, we are the second largest paper recycling industry in Europe – second only to Germany – a level that enables us to close our cycle by recycling all the used paper and board collected in the country”.

Six good reasons for promoting recycling within the European Union:

1. Support for the European recycling industry.

2. Creation of green employment in Europe.

3. Reduction of emissions associated with transport of waste.

4. Compliance of recycling with the European environmental requirements.

5. Creation of wealth in those areas where the efforts and investments have been made to improve waste collection.

6. Greater transparency and control over the recycling process, which in turn leads to enhanced consumer confidence.


Stated in the Spanish Waste Act

Article 16.3: “With regard to waste materials elegible for recycling, public administrations may articulate temporary mechanisms that give priority to recycling within the European Union when such recycling is justified on environmental grounds.”

16th new additional provision: Recyclable Waste: “Producers and other initial holders of recyclable waste materials may give priority to their complete treatment within the European Union in order to prevent the environmental impact of transporting waste out of the EU, in accordance with applicable regulations.”

 ASPAPEL (Spanish Association of Pulp and Paper Manufacturers) is a nationwide professional organization that brings together companies in the pulp and paper sector. Associated member companies (about 60) account for over 90% of the Spanish sector’s total output.

ASPAPEL Press Office – Tel.: +34 91 561 68 26

Ángeles Álvarez

Marta Cerceño