The challenge of reaching a 65% recycling rate

‘Gero Arte. Recycle and make it come back’ campaign, launched by the Regional Government of Biscay, reached Zamudio on September 2nd. An informing tent, accompanied by a foodtruck, spread the word about recycling and European objectives for 2030.

In the year 2016, 605,000 tones of waste were collected in Biscay, 247,000 of them, through selective collection. This meant that the recycling rate reached 43,78% and that the collection of general waste (waste that cannot be recycled) was reduced in 3,25%. But much is yet to be done, especially in the European framework. Amongst its circular economy objectives, the European Union has established that the recycling rate must reach 65% in the year 2030. On September 2nd, an informing tent was set in the centre of Zamudio in order to explain, through games and activities, the keys to fulfil the objective.

It was in the context of the ‘Gero Arte. Recycle and make it come back’ campaign, which the Regional Government of Biscay launched in the summer and which travelled around beaches and municipalities in the territory. Txorierri was included in this tour, which stopped in Derio, Sondika and Zamudio.

People responsible for the tent used workshops, jigsaw puzzles and games (aimed at different ages) to spread the word about recycling and the right way to sort different waste types. Participants received in return presents like water bottles, slate boards and vouchers for ‘pintxos’ from the foodtruck accompanying the campaign.

The campaign is part of a set of actions that the Regional Government of Biscay has launched in order to raise awareness of the need to reduce waste generation and to increase waste reusing and recycling rates. These are the same objectives that Zamudio and the Community of Municipalities of Txorierri are pursuing in the European Waste4Think project, in which they will take part for the next three years. The work involves four European towns and is testing strategies to make the most of technology in the fields of waste management and citizen involvement.

During the presentation of the ‘Gero Arte’ campaign, the Deputy General of Biscay himself, Unai Rementeria, highlighted the importance of building a community where recycling plays an important role to reduce waste generation and to increase waste reusing as a source of resources. This idea is the cornerstone of the ‘circular economy’ philosophy that Europe has embraced. This new economy model, in his words, «will drive competitiveness, will encourage sustainable economic growth and will help create new jobs». From a «more local» point of view, he pointed out that «recycling allows to reduce expenses in municipalities and communities of municipalities» and, consequently, to save funds for «other public services». «Recycling is both an intelligent and necessary bet; it is essential if we want to be a modern and responsible territory», he emphasized.