Each day we produce waste as a result of our daily activities: the remains of products that are no longer useful to us and that we want to get rid of. Before throwing them away, you must make sure that you no longer have any use for them. You must then put them in the right waste container to ensure they will be recycled and reused in new products whenever possible.
Becoming involved in selective waste collection, taking the first step in the separation of waste at home is a civic gesture that leads to lower environmental, economic and social costs. Waste can be reused by recycling and recovering it, turning it into new resources and providing both environmental and economic and social benefits for everyone.
The better we carry out the selective collection of Barcelona’s waste by separating it properly and putting it in the right waste container, the more we will help reduce emissions into the atmosphere of the polluting gases created by waste (refuse) treatment plants. In addition, we will be helping give a second life to those products we no longer use: organic waste can be turned into biodiesel or fertiliser, recycled glass can be made into new packaging, used plastic can be used for new products for industry, etc. New uses for products that we can still use for a long time. Let’s not waste it!
From 1 July 2020, a municipal waste fee will apply in Barcelona city in accordance with the European Directive for the improvement of the management of household waste and the commitments made in the metropolitan area to include payment systems for the use of the collection service. The aim is to achieve an increase in selective collection of up to 55% by 2025, thus reducing the total cost of waste collection and treatment. Further information at municipal Treasury's website.
Barcelona City Council is promoting tools and actions as part its public awareness campaigns to help citizens improve their household waste collection by carrying out training and education actions aimed at the general public and at the various groups in the city.
Did you know that...
Selective collection in Barcelona accounts for almost 38% of all waste collected, at a cost to the city of €191 per household per year. If selective collection accounted for 60% of waste, this cost would drop to €163 per household per year. The cost and collection of the refuse part is €206 per tonne, that of the organic part is €124 per tonne, and the treatment of paper and glass costs around €45 tonne. [data from 2019]. Separating waste reduces the total economic costs of waste management.
Household waste collection systems:
Barcelona opts for a recycling collection including five different types. There are containers for each one of them located citywide in order to make waste management easier: tins, glass, paper and cardboard, organic and remains. All citizens have recycling collection containers located less than 100 meters from their home.
Cartons are delivered to sorting plants, which separate the various materials by combining optical, mechanical and manual techniques. The various selected materials are compacted, packaged and distributed to recycling centers.
Elements which can be thrown: plastic containers (water bottles, plastic bags, yogurt containers, etc.), beverage and food cans, cartons, plates and metal lids, aluminum foil and cling film, polystyrene trays, etc. Elements which cannot be thrown: toys, watering hoses, tubes, materials such as videotapes and CDs, as well as packaging’s from dangerous products (like solvent or paint)
Recycling glass is delivered to recycling plants, where cleaning materials are extracted with ferric magnets and crushed in order to convert it into powder (selected, clean and ground glass). This enables to manufacture glass packaging exactly like the original ones for bottles, jars, light bulbs, etc.
Elements which can be thrown: glass containers and bottles. Elements which cannot be thrown: broken glasses, flat glass, mirrors, ceramic remains, dishes, light bulbs, fluorescent, etc.
Paper and cardboard are delivered to recycling plants, where they become large bales of shredded paper. These bales are soaked to get paper pulp, which is strained to filter its ferrous materials. The resulting paste is dried, ironed and turned into reels, which are distributed to paper mills in order to have a new life.
Elements which can be thrown: packaging and cardboard boxes, newspapers, magazines, books without wire-o bound, envelopes, paper bags, sheets, wrapping paper, etc.
What cannot be thrown: paper and dirty material, such as paper napkins or paper towels stained with oil, should be thrown in to brown containers. Cartons and foil should be thrown into yellow containers.
The substances from plants or animals might degrade biologically like food leftovers and gardening remains. It is a very important type of waste, since it means the third part of the waste we generate at home. This waste is delivered to ecoparks, where it becomes compost and biogas.
Elements which can be thrown: leftover meat, fish, bread, fruit, vegetables, seafood and nuts, egg shells, corks, tea bags, coffee grounds, paper towels and napkins stained with oil, gardening waste, etc.
Elements which cannot be thrown: sweeping debris, hair, diapers and animal feces, which should be thrown into grey containers. Paper and cardboard, which should be thrown into blue containers.
This type of containers includes all the waste which has not been collected. This waste are delivered to eco-parks, where it is separated into paper/cardboard, packaging, glass and other materials by several procedures in order to integrate them into the recycling chain. Waste which cannot be recycled should be delivered to landfills or be incinerated. The ideal is that these treatments are only aimed for waste which cannot be reused or recycled.
Elements which can be thrown: cigarette ends, sanitary towels, diapers, sweeping debris, cotton, hair, used pens and pencils, animal feaces.
Elements which cannot be thrown: tea bags, paper towels and paper towel stained with oil, leftovers (egg shells, shellfish, etc.), which should be thrown into brown containers. Wood remains, CDs, cartons with toxic materials or clothing should be delivered to Green Dots.
Pneumatic collection is available in a number of waste points or bins which are all connected to a central suction point by a network of underground pipes.
Bins are located on streets, goals or common areas or landings buildings. There are two systems depending on the place where the suction is carried out: mobile pneumatic collection (a truck suctions from fixed points) or fixed pneumatic collection (suction is carried out by plants). Pneumatic collection enable to deliver waste at any time during the day, it does not cause odors and reduces traffic and improves visual impact.
The City Council has a door to door waste collection service coinciding in unique zones including the old part of the city, shopping areas or areas where is especially difficult to place containers or access with collection vehicles.
Organic waste and other waste collection is carried out daily from Monday to Sunday. Bags must be placed down the street in front of the doorstep from 8 to 10 p.m. The participation of neighbors is essential for the door to door waste bags collection.
The special shopping collection service is a way to differentiate and streamline collection circuits. This system restricts the time to take out the trash, thereby avoiding containers to be full all day.
For further information, please see the recycling guide.
Bon Pastor is the first city neighbourhood to have an innovative rubbish-collection system, using mobile platforms with selective collection bins. Neighbours in the area delimited by Plaça Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, Plaça de Robert Gerhard, Carrer del Foc Follet, Passeig d’Enric Sanchis, Carrer de Sant Adrià, and Carrer de la Formiga can use them to dispose of their rubbish according to the service's calendar and timetable. On the days that rubbish is collected, the platforms are available for use during the following times:
- Mornings: from 6 am to 11 am
- Evenings: from 6 pm to 11 pm
Sunday is the only day of the week without any rubbish collection.
Barcelona has a network of more than 21 neighborhood green dots, two mobile green dots at schools and two mobile green points for recycling waste that can’t be thrown into street bins. Green dots are used to get rid of waste can’t be thrown into street containers. By using this service we contribute to improve the recycling process and help preserving the environment.
The City Council has an online Green Dots browser to help you find the closest green dot to your area depending on the waste you want to recycle.
The service for collecting old furniture and junk helps improve the quality of our streets. In order to facilitate a proper collection of bulky household waste, all streets of Barcelona have a specific day for it and it’s a free service for citizens. It is important to leave the furniture according to the programmed schedule in each street by leaving the furniture in front of the doorstep between 8 and 10 p.m. In order to know which is the scheduled day for each street, please check the Procedures Portal or call the 010 through the civility service 900 226 226.
Type of collected objects : sofas, doors, furniture, chairs, boxes and wooden slats, blinds or broken toys, among others.
Tyope of non-collected objects: debris, sanitary or similar objects if there is construction work. In the case of refrigerators, air conditioners or refrigerators with CFC components, use the green dot to protect the environment since CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) is extremely harmful to the ozone layer.
This furniture and junk collection service is also available for people with mobility difficulties who do not have anyone that can get off the furniture. You must prove it in the time of collection. Furniture and utensils should be disassembled if the volume or weight requires so in order to make them pass through the gates and down the building stairs.
There is also a paying service Monday to Friday which is responsible for the furniture and junk collection at home within 36 hours. This service can be used by individuals, companies, offices and small industrial customers.
In addition, as of January 1, 2019, at the Rectoret, a new furniture and antique waste collection service is installed. The neighbours in this area must call the telephone number 900 226 226 (free of charge) to request the collection of furniture and download them on Tuesdays, from 8:00 p.m. The pickup service will find them next day, but they will only remove the furniture and items that have been requested through this new service. Due to good results, same collection system will be implemented at Mas Sauró and Mas Guimbau neighbourhoods, from 5th November on.
As from 6 July, 2020, Vallvidrera’s local residents will need to call the civic behaviour telephone helpline on 900 226 226 to request the collection service for old furniture and junk, which will be provided on Mondays, from 8 pm to 10 pm. Furniture will not be removed unless the service has been requested by telephone.
This service is addressed at both residents and companies. The service is responsible for collecting the bodies of dead animals found in public or private residences, ensuring that they will receive proper treatment. The truck responsible for the collection is specially designed with independent departments and well refrigerated. You just have to call 900 226 226 and set the collection date and time. Collection times are from Monday to Saturday, in the morning shift, and in the case of two consecutive holidays, we provide the service one of these two days. This service is subject to public prices, which depend on the origin and the weight of the animal.
Roba Amiga Programme ("Friendly Clothing") is an employment project addressed at people with special difficulties which consists of reusing old clothes and accessories in good conditions. Roba Amiga Programme helps to reduce the amount of garbage which is delivered to landfills and to reuse waste which can be still reused.
Kind of clothes which can be collected: clothes for home and clothing, shoes, handbags and other accessories. Kind of clothes which cannot be collected: textile waste, wet clothes and clothes which cannot be reused (with parasites or odors, dirty or used rags from workshops or similar places). For further information go to the programme webpage
Sentencia nº 56 del recurso contencioso-administrativo ordinario núm.123/2015:
In Barcelona there are lot of buildings being renovated. One of the consequences of this activity is the management of debris and waste which is generated during these works. Companies providing this service in Barcelona must be approved by the City Council. Bags and metal containers should be identified with the holder’s name and phone, the approval codes of the company and a payment certificate corresponding the local levy. Debris is the only element which can be thrown. Furniture, utensils, junk and other waste materials cannot be thrown. Waste cannot exceed safety limits in any case.
When placing bags and containers on sidewalks, you must leave at least one meter passageway for pedestrians. They will be preferably placed in front of the construction work, so they make vehicles visible. It is forbidden to place them on crosswalks, driveway entrances, forbidden parking areas, areas for public access and next to trees. Be careful not to obstruct the surface water flow.
Debris bags must be withdrawn within 24 hours after placing them in case they are not in a work closed area. Debris must be delivered to an authorized manager. If when notifying the company responsible for the collection it does not respond or complete the service, please call 900 226 226. The Council will urge the company to pick up the bag. If it doesn’t pick it in the end, the Councill will send a subsidiary and fine the responsible company. Responsible members for debris bags are: the company which has its name and telephone number printed on the bag and the owner of the building work license. Dirt on streets due to minor works is a responsibility shared by the developer, the haulage contractor and the license owner.
Fibrocement with asbestos is a material made of cement and asbestos fibers which was used for construction. The most common one is made for: asbestos sheets (corrugated or flat), flower beds, fireplaces and chimneys, vents, pipes, water tanks, etc. Products containing asbestos does not pose risks to health if the fibers remain united. They are only harmful to health if it breaks.
If citizens believe they have small items made of fibrocement and asbestos, they have to carefully deliver them to the Green Dot of Vall d'Hebron area. In order to avoid unnecessary risks, citizens should follow these instructions: do not ever break the material, wrap it instead with plastic film to avoid loosening fibers and use disposable gloves and masks when removing it. It is also recommended to wash the clothing which has been used without dusting it or to use disposable overalls when possible.
For further information, the City Council offers citizens the phone service 010 and the Waste Agency of Catalonia phone number (93 567 33 00). You can also call the Green Dot Vall d'Hebron (93 428 04 96).