Recycling packaging

What should I do with aerosol or paint cans?

Household-size (not industrial) aerosol and paint cans can be deposited in the yellow container as long as the product is fully used up, meaning the can is completely empty. This is to prevent the spill of toxic substances. If there is still some product left the can must be taken to a recycling center.

Why do cartons go in the yellow and not blue container if they are made of cardboard?

Because cartons, while seemingly made only of cardboard, contain aluminum and/or plastic inside, which calls for a recycling process different from that for paper and cardboard.

Why can’t old toys and other plastic objects like a VHS tape, CD or metal objects like old frying pans be put in the yellow container?

Yellow containers are solely for packaging material made of plastic, metal or cartons. The reason that non-packaging cannot be deposited in them is that once they are taken from the container, the packaging materials are taken to facilities specially designed to separate the various materials used in packaging.

Should I wash the packaging that contained food before putting it in the yellow container?

It isn’t necessary, as this needlessly consumes water. The important thing is for the container not to contain any product inside, meaning the product should be fully used and once the packaging is empty, then you can deposit it in the corresponding container.

Where should I deposit clothing that is practically new? In the yellow container? Is it recycled?

Used clothes in good condition will only be reused if deposited in the special containers for clothing at recycling centers. It will not be recycled if it is mistakenly deposited in the yellow container.

What are the secondary raw materials recovered from the recycling of packaging used for?

For products and packaging of all types, from textiles made from PET to paper for newspapers to piping, street furniture, steel and aluminum products, plastic bags, new packaging, etc.

Who does recycling benefit? Just recyclers?

It benefits everyone, the population in general, both current and new generations, and the environment since recycling packaging leads to savings in the use of raw materials, energy and water. It also avoids the generation of large amounts of atmospheric CO2 emissions.

It also benefits recyclers, who obtain material to use in their activity, which in turn benefits us all since these recyclers are capable of transforming waste that would once have gone to the landfill into new, useful raw materials.

Where does the packaging go once it is deposited in the proper container?

Cardboard and paper packaging goes directly to the recoverers and recyclers of this type of material. Light packaging goes first to a sorting plant where it is separated into different types of plastic (PET, HDPE, LDPE, mixed plastic), metals (steel and aluminum) and carton before being sent on to a recycler.

Are the different packaging types that users go to great lengths to separate in their homes mixed in the collection trucks?

This does not happen, and in those exceptional cases when it does, it is reported to the local governments. What happens sometimes is that the collection trucks have two separate compartments, one for light packaging and another for the other types, which can be a source for confusion.

Why are the lids on yellow containers sealed shut and their holes so small?

This does make it harder for people to recycle but it is absolutely essential to keep out materials that should not go in those containers. It is a measure that aims to keep the work of those people who correctly deposit packaging waste in these containers from being nullified by those who use them to deposit any kind of waste.

Should I call Ecoembes if the containers in my neighborhood are overflowing and/or dirty?

No. You should call the city hall department responsible for waste pick-up.

How many container types are there?

Although the colors are always the same, yellow, blue and green, their shapes and sizes vary depending on the collection system used by the municipality and on its urban planning.

Who is responsible for the selective pick-up of packaging? Ecoembes? City hall? The regional government?

The pick-up of packaging is a municipal responsibility, and it is thus the local government that must implement the selective pick-up in its area. In the case of small or medium municipalities, however, it is common for them to group their services together to cover several municipalities or counties, or the provincial government may provide this service.

Are municipalities required to implement the selective pick-up of packaging?

Law 10/98 on waste states that all municipalities with over 5,000 residents must implement the selective pick-up of waste. Nowadays practically 100% of Spain’s inhabitants have yellow and blue containers close to their homes.

What’s considered packaging and what isn’t?

Any product made with materials of any type that is used to contain, protect, handle, distribute and present goods, from raw materials to finished articles, in any phase of the manufacturing, distribution and consumption chain. For example, a box of cookies, a can of sardines, a bottle of water, a carton of milk, a box of nougat, labels, stickers, single-use bags, etc.

What containers does Ecoembes handle?

At Ecoembes we handle two packaging types: light packaging (plastic and metal packaging and cartons), which is deposited in the yellow container; and paper and cardboard, which goes in the blue container.