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Catalan Zero Waste network launches pilot bottle-deposit project in Cadaqués

The Catalan Zero Waste Network launched a pilot bottle storage project in Cadaqués

When waste has value, littering disappears, and recycling soars. In short, this is the meaning of the packaging waste storage system; a deposit is paid when buying a beverage, and the deposit will be refunded when the used packaging is brought back to the store.

Cadaqués is the city where world artist Salvador Dalí lived and worked. It was the first city in Spain to experiment with a packaging waste storage system. The Catalan Zero Waste Strategy is the platform on which the Retorna Foundation and Fundació Catalana per la Prevenció i el Consum Responsable launched the initiative.

From April 15th to June 30th, Catalonia Town will use a pilot project for the Deposit and Return System (DRS) of beverage containers.

Cans and plastic bottles of soda, water, juice, and beer that are less than three liters will be charged a 5 cent deposit, which will be refunded when the package is returned to any of the 10 partner institutions.

Among the 9 million beverage containers consumed daily in Catalonia, Spain, the pilot project opened up a way to prevent landfill, incineration or littering.

The purpose of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility of a recycling program, which has been successfully operated in more than 40 countries and regions around the world, and will coexist with the roadside container system that has shown its obvious restrictions on recycling packaging.

Spain’s current packaging producer responsibility extension system is based on an extreme interpretation of the European packaging directives. Although the directive recommends a deposit system for packaging — countries such as Germany, Sweden, Finland or Estonia have already done so — Spain decided to turn the exception into a rule and pass a law in which packaging manufacturers no longer treat them. Responsible for the waste put on the market, but only for the separately collected waste. The result was that a system only collected 35% of beverage packaging for recycling, but when they used the deposit system in Germany, they achieved a collection rate of 98%.

Josep Maria Tost, Director of the Catalan Waste Management Bureau, explained that Cadaques' pilot project aims to find solutions for the future. "In Cadaques, no more cans will be abandoned in the village or the environment," he added.

Merce Girona, Chairman of the Waste Reduction and Responsible Consumption Foundation, said: “The pilot test came at the right time because Catalonia is planning a new general waste management plan for 2013-2020, which will provide new tools for waste management. , For example as a return system".

Surprisingly, a country like Spain with an unemployment rate of over 25% and so dependent on tourism is capable of throwing most of the packaging waste into landfills and incinerators. The experience of the deposit system proves that they can create new jobs, reduce the processing cost of each package collected, reduce the collection cost of the municipality, and reduce the impact on the environment. Once again, zero waste is more economical, environmentally friendly and common sense than traditional business models.

In the final analysis, the question is who is responsible for the waste. European legislation and the Catalan Zero Waste Network stated that producers are responsible for all waste they put on the market-instead of the current 1/3 in Spain today. It is hoped that this pilot project is the beginning of a new way of understanding the responsibility of Spanish producers.

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