The rule of the three Rs is about to go down in history in Spain as well. The so-called 3Rs of ecology (reduce, reuse and recycle) must add one more: reward those who carry out these good practices. And in the future, claimed as urgent by some groups, another: return the empty container. According to data from the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (Miteco), 44% of the containers still do not reach the landfill, especially those of beverages.

Now the moment is crucial to coincide with the transposition of the European plastic directive, the current development of the Circular Economy Strategy and the new Law on Waste and Contaminated Soils, which was presented last summer and will go to the Council of Ministers in the first quarter of 2021. And the debate is served.

By 2029, 90% of beverage bottles must be collected

To date, in Spain we were able to dispose of waste by separating it by containers. But there are news regarding the yellow color, the most polluting. Ecoembes, the entity that coordinates the recycling of plastic containers, cans and briks throughout the national territory, installed the first ten machines of the Refund and Reward System (SDR) a week ago.

“They are already underway in the train stations of the metropolitan area of ​​Barcelona, ​​within the Recycle project. At the same time, through the technology applied to the plastic container, citizens can use their mobile by recycling and scanning the barcode on the container and obtain rewards in 21 municipalities of six autonomous communities. Our goal is to spread the habit of recycling, listening to the user, testing and, of course, without knocking down what has cost so much to lift and it works ”, explains Nieves Rey, spokesperson for Ecoembes.

In Spain there is expectation for the transposition of European regulations

In Madrid, Getafe was the first city to download the webapp. Sara Hernández, mayor of the municipality, states that “we are not satisfied with our good recycling rates, we want to go to more and get closer, especially, to the youngest. We are the pioneer of municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants in incorporating the Recycling incentive system for cans and plastic bottles in the 445 installed containers ”.

The project, “which promotes sustainable mobility by offering discounts on public transport, the use of scooters or giving the possibility of winning an electric bike, as well as the contribution to social causes and collaboration with NGOs”, distinguishes two phases: the implementation marches in 2019 with Sant Boi at the helm as pilot, and the recently released to install “about 100 machines now” in those places with great influx, details Rey.

¿SDR o SDDR ?, el dilema

And again we return to the letters, because the proposal of the SDR is not without controversy. If we double that of, we move on to talking about another solution, the Deposit, Refund and Return System (SDDR), which since 1984 has been operating in about 50 countries, where consumers pay an amount for each drink purchased, which they later recover by introducing the container in a machine or when delivered to the point of sale.

“It is the return of the helmet from the eighties, but in an updated version, and it has made it possible to achieve recovery rates like those of Germany of 98%”, comments Miquel Roset, director of Returns, an organization that considers that “in our country, a deposit of 10 cents per container can end the daily abandonment of 30 million of these.”

The system of deposit or return of packaging at the point of sale does not yet exist in Spain.

And we also talk about Catalonia again, because the laboratory in Spain was Cadaqués in 2013; For a few months, packaging waste was collected there through automatic systems, with an average return of 73%. “The possibilities of the SDR are symbolic and do not include glass. In any case, they are compatible systems ”, adds Roset.

Different environmental organizations have been questioning the interests and financing of the two entities mentioned, although they have always understood that they should be part of the solution. Julio Barea, from the environmental organization Greenpeace, is blunt: “We are not for economic pulses or quixotic like the SDR. Stopping this emergency passes through the deposit system, which must be promoted and made viable, expanding to everything: tobacco butts, masks … And, of course, we do not understand the silence of Ecovidrio about the topic. As we make clear in the document Ecoembes lies, this is a forward flight so as not to give his arm to twist [respecto al sistema SDDR que funciona en toda Europa], and that will even make beverage brands assume costs that have not yet been quantified ”. The big brands declined to comment.

By 2029, at least 90% (by weight) of the beverage bottles in circulation must be collected. The other erre, which is the one that commands and we have not mentioned is: rescue the planet.

Containers for tablets

Machine in Getxo (Bizkaia)
Machine in Getxo (Bizkaia)

Recyclia. In Getxo (Bizkaia) an incentive system for the collection of tablets and other ICT devices was launched this month. “To stop the treasure effect, which leads to seven out of ten devices going to the bottom of a drawer without more,” says Gonzalo Torralbo, commercial director of Recyclia, which groups Ecopilas, Ecofimática, Ecoasimelec and Ecolum, dedicated to recycling of disused electrical and electronic equipment. Slot mobile was its antecedent.

Ecocreditos. “The idea is to create an ecosystem and an exploitation proposal, if it is viable and scalable, within the European CIRC4Life project. After downloading the app and an identification QR code, citizens interact with the smart container and manage their eco-credits. We find out what the user prefers: a discount on the menu, contribute to plant a tree or buy back the device once it has been repaired? ”, He explains. At the moment, there is only one container, “given its cost, as it requires special security measures to avoid vandalism.”

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