Plastic recycling recommendations for the summer holidays

Category: Developments and trends in plastics recycling

The summer holidays are a period of time in which the use of plastic packaging increases noticeably. A higher consumption of drinks, precooked dishes and sunscreen products contributes to this increment. Spain heads the European recycling indexes of plastics that come from homes. It is concretely in the second position, only surpassed by Germany. But, paradoxically, it is also during summer holidays when consumers recycle their waste in a lower proportion.

The change of regular residence, the trips and the change of routines, as well as a lower availability of infrastructures for this purpose, contribute to this kind of relaxation in the recycling habits. As a survey made by the Plataforma por la Sostenibilidad de los Envases (Platform for the Sustainability of Packaging) shows, in Spain a 95% of the interviewees state that they usually separate packaging waste throughout the year; whilst only an 83% of the same interviewees keep this habit during the summer holidays.

At the end of their shelf life, plastics are a valuable resource that can be recovered as a raw material to manufacture new products or produce energy. The material recycling is the main way of waste management in Spain. It is a process that consists of shredding, washing, drying and grinding plastic materials in order to obtain new products made of recycled plastic, such as pipes, bags, hangers, shoes and street furniture, among others.

The plastic recycling industry in Spain has over 60 years of history and there are currently more than 100 plastic recycling plants spread all over the country. There, post-consumer plastics are recycled and they come from different applications and sectors, such as packaging, agriculture, building, automotive or electrical and electronic devices. The importance of this sector and keeping right recycling habits are laid bare through data like this: a fridge can work a whole month with the energy saved when recycling a ton of plastic.

Recommendations not to let the recycling go on vacation

AIMPLAS has been thinking about recycling habits during the summer period and has compiled a series of advices to keep recycling during the holidays, together with a reminder of good recycling practices:

1. You must check at your vacation residence if there is any rubbish bin or some kind of solution in order to separate the different wastes.

2. It is very important to see where the nearest yellow bin is. You must remind what kind of wastes you can throw there:

You must not throw away in a yellow bin:

3. Before considering a product as a waste, you must think in the possibility of giving it a second life and reusing stuff.

4. Summer is also a period of time when you may spend some time refurbishing your house. You have to remember that WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), such as domestic appliances and televisions, must be thrown away in an eco-park. In case of having outdoor plastic furniture waste you must contact with the waste management service of your city hall.

5. You must not abandon plastic products. You can lead by example and remind others how important keeping recycling in summer is. It is very relevant to become aware of the necessity of managing wastes in a right way by throwing them away in the right place for their recycling. Materials are not the problem, but the way in which we manage them.

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