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Study by Eunomia Research and Consulting and Reloop reveals which nations are among the world’s highest recyclers

Study by Eunomia Research and Consulting and Reloop reveals which nations are among the world’s highest recyclers

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  • Spain’s Actual Collection Rate: The actual collection rate for plastic beverage bottles in Spain is 36%, contrary to the previously claimed 71%.
  • Legal Requirements: Spain is at risk of not meeting its mandatory 70% collection target for 2023.
  • Recommended Action: Implementing a Deposit Return System (DRS) is essential for Spain to reach the 2025 target of 77%.

A recent study conducted by Eunomia Research and Consulting and Reloop has revealed a significant discrepancy in Spain’s reported versus actual collection rates for plastic beverage bottles up to three litres. The study finds that Spain’s actual collection rate is just 36%, far below the previously reported 71%. This discrepancy has serious implications for Spain’s ability to meet its mandatory targets for recycling plastic beverage bottles.

The European Union’s Single-Use Plastics Directive mandates that member states achieve a 70% collection rate for these bottles by 2023. The findings from Eunomia’s study suggest that Spain is unlikely to meet this target. Furthermore, the directive sets an even more ambitious target of 77% by 2025. To reach these goals, the study strongly recommends the implementation of a Deposit Return System (DRS).

Chris Sherrington, Head of Environmental Policy at Eunomia, commented on the findings: “Our research clearly shows that Spain’s current collection systems are falling short. A Deposit Return System is proven to be effective in increasing collection rates, and it is essential for Spain to adopt this approach to meet the EU’s targets.

The study also highlights the success of DRS in other countries, where it has significantly improved recycling rates and reduced litter. In these systems, consumers pay a small deposit on beverage containers, which is refunded when the container is returned for recycling. This incentive-based approach has been effective in driving higher collection rates.

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The report emphasizes the urgency of addressing this issue, as failing to meet the EU’s targets could result in legal and financial repercussions for Spain. It calls on policymakers and industry stakeholders to collaborate on implementing DRS and improving the country’s recycling infrastructure.


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