High levels of selective collection are a good indicator of the commitment and good practices regarding waste carried out in a municipality. The higher the percentage of selective collection, the greater the amount of waste that can potentially be recovered and recycled, thus contributing to the principles of the circular economy and reducing the environmental impact associated with the generation and treatment of waste.
More than 40% of the household waste generated is organic waste. For this reason, collecting the organic fraction selectively is key to increasing the values of selective collection of municipal waste, preventing the contamination of other fractions with organic waste and valorizing the organic matter in the form of compost to take advantage of the nutrients that they can provide to the soil.
The Door to Door (DtD) collection system is related to an increase in selective collection. The selective collection data show how main selective fractions (organic, paper and cardboard, light packaging and glass) have a higher collection percentage in municipalities where a DtD system is carried out than in municipalities with other systems, especially in the case of the organic fraction.
In addition, it also facilitates the implementation of other waste management systems, such as payment per generation.
This indicator shows the percentage of recirculation of materials put into circulation in Spain, that is, those that have been recovered once converted into waste and returned to the market. It is, therefore, an indicator that shows the state of the circular economy in the territory.
One of the main factors in the loss of reusable packaging is the increase in the distribution and consumption of single-use packaging, especially cans, which have grown unstoppable in absolute numbers, mainly in the beer and soft drinks sectors.
High tourism, deficiencies in waste management systems and human activity in the coastal areas contribute to the fact that year after year a high amount of waste ends up reaching the sea (marine waste).
The continuous changes in the applications and characteristics of the devices increase the production of electrical and electronic devices (EEE) and make the innovation/obsolescence cycles shorter, accelerating their replacement and generating a correlative increase in the generation of waste derived from these devices (WEEE). Due to the presence of toxic substances in its composition, such as heavy metals, WEEE poses a risk to human health and the environment if it is not managed correctly. On the other hand, very rare and valuable materials are also used in its manufacture. Its recovery, preparation for reuse and recycling, not only avoids the extraction of non-renewable raw materials and the environmental and social impacts caused by mining, but also reduces the emission of greenhouse gases associated with its processing.
Despite the perfect sanitary and organoleptic qualities of tap water in practically all parts of the country, the consumption of bottled water continues to be the chosen option in many homes.
If we compare tap water with bottled water, we observe that tap water manages to greatly reduce the environmental impact, since the impacts derived from transportation are reduced, resources are not consumed for the manufacture of the container, thus reducing the impact derived from the management of packaging waste.
Coffee capsules represent an example of a product with a poor design that does not allow its correct management as waste and recycling. Their small size and the fact that they are still full of organic content when they have become waste makes it difficult to recycle them, even though most of them are made of aluminum and it is a completely recyclable material. Furthermore, it is a product that does not cover any real need in society and that presents many traditional and more sustainable alternatives, such as the use of Italian coffee makers and bulk ground coffee.
Currently, single-use menstrual products (pads and tampons) continue to be the most used option among menstruating people, despite the multiple reusable alternatives that exist (menstrual cups, reusable pads and panties, menstrual sponge).
Such menstrual products are characterized by having a very low durability and a very high recycling complexity, which is why they are collected and treated with the rejection fraction or, in the worst case, thrown into the natural environment. Even so, these products are not subject to any extended producer responsibility (EPR) system.