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City Barcelona
Country Spain
Population 1,550,000
Households 510,000
Area 99 km2
Type of development Urban
Contact person Ayuntamiento de Barcelona - Salvany Sabate

Media-Com _4

C/ Torrent de l’Olla 218-220 6° E-08012

Barcelona Spain

Tel. 34 93 291 41 60 - Fax 34 93 291 41 54

Waste vacuumed up for recycling
In Barcelona, the sorting scheme is based on voluntary drop-off of three general
types of waste: glass, paper and cardboard, and plastics, composite packaging and
metals. These three types of waste are collected in containers located throughout
the city and transported to a sorting or pre-processing centre, where they are sorted
and prepared for recycling.

Processing methods in 1997
Recycling 3% Composting 1%
Incineration 27%

A novel system of collection
This sorting scheme is supplemented by an original method of collection notably of
organic waste and other non-recyclable waste. It is currently in the experimental
stages and operates in only two streets in Barcelona, as well as in the Olympic
village. The residents of the two streets in question received, free of charge, rubbish
bins with two compartments, one for organic and one for non-recyclable waste. They
can empty these bins into boxes with circular openings located along the streets,
from which the waste falls into underground containers and is later vacuumed up
into a container truck. This completely automated system is controlled from a
computer located in the truck. The system was introduced in the main street in May
1998 and was extended to an additional street in February 1999. This collection
method is termed a «mobile» method to distinguish it from the «fixed» system
established in the Olympic village in 1992, where residents of the apartment blocks
concerned use specific rubbish chutes, saving them a trip to the street. Organic
waste is also collected from the city's markets and then transported to the
composting centre. Non-recyclable waste is taken to the incineration unit or the

Landfill 69%

Information: the key to success
Naturally, during the first six months after the introduction of this collection
system, Barcelona organised an intensive information campaign, with a team of
people to distribute all the information necessary to residents, along with the dualcompartment rubbish bin. The campaign continued during the ensuing three months
by means of information kiosks located next to the containers. Barcelona is planning
gradually to extend this system to other districts of the city.

Processing objectives for 2006
Controlled landfill 7%
Recycling 30%

Incineration 33%
Composting 12%
Methanisation 18%

Collection of recyclables




Local drop-off



Paper and cardboard 16,113



Plastic, metal,