Processes for household packaging recycling control and certification

Household packaging recycling control and certification

From beginning to end, the recycling cycle is a closely controlled operation.

Due to information provided on the ground by the town halls and waste managers authorised by the Autonomous Communities, this monitoring enables us to have a thorough understanding of the situation of all packaging from the time it is recovered from the bins to the time it is converted back into raw material.

All the traceability checks that support this regular activity are completed by auditing firms outside Ecoembes, which ensures that the waste is converted into a new resource.

Here, we describe the controls that are implemented throughout the recycling cycle and who is responsible for them.

Throughout the process

  • 1. Monthly data on amounts collected, sorted, and recycled. Through a web application, the Public Administrations (town halls and Autonomous Communities) report on a monthly basis the precise data on packaging collection and delivery to recyclers.

  • 2. Verification of information accuracy and agreement compliance. Several times a year, several outside businesses check and confirm the accuracy of the data that the Public Administrations offer regarding the amounts collected and recycled. A control report example.


At sorting plants

  • 3. Waste analysis and categorisation. The quality of the material handled by these facilities, both that which is processed and that which is rejected, is evaluated at the plants throughout the year by specialist businesses to guarantee that the recycling data is consistent with what is disposed of in the bins and afterwards sorted. They enable town halls and Autonomous Communities to boost packaging recycling by modifying their waste management strategies and action plans. 7,078 characterisations were completed throughout all of Spain in 2020. Check some illustrations of waste characterisation and analysis.


  • 4. Quality control of waste (ETMR). These checks are used to make sure that the material leaving the sorting facilities and headed for the recycling facilities conforms to the technical requirements outlined in the agreements Ecoembes has with the public sector and in the contracts it has with recyclers. 6,885 quality controls on the material were done in 2020.


At recycling facilities

  • 5. Examining waste characterisation businesses. Throughout the year, audits are conducted on a regular basis to ensure that the waste analysis and quality controls carried out by the businesses allocated material for recycling are done so in compliance with the procedures outlined in the agreements. There were 21 inspections to characterisation businesses in 2020.

  • 6. Audits to ensure that recyclers and collectors are certified. Every two years, external auditors authorise all recyclers who accept packaging waste to be converted into fresh raw material while adhering to stringent quality, labour, environmental, and operational regulations. There were 429 authorised recyclers and collectors as of the end of 2020.

  • 7. Audit of traceability. Recyclers must go through yearly audits that validate proper package recycling and the marketing of the resultant new raw material in order to be permitted to recycle packaging waste in Spain. The tonnes of recycled packaging that Ecoembes stated can currently all be traced. Audit of traceability.


Additional data and reports


Here, we provide some relevant information about the checks that were made. For further details, you may also refer to the 2020 control report.

  • Audits for firms: 95% of the tonnes of packaging were audited

  • 13,963 analyses of waste composition and quality assurance

  • 429 authorised recyclers