As any responsible society should, Spain has a well-developed system of recycling used materials like paper, plastic, or soda cans. You can find recycle bins, receptacles, and containers all over the country.
We know that there are many plastics in use in Spain, but we can at least recycle to help. If you are new to Spain and come from another country the recycle system may be a bit different for you. There are usually a variety of recycle bins scattered around every city, town and even small village. Sometimes many of the recycling bins are grouped together and other times you will see just one or two. Let’s learn a little more about recycling in Spain!
When recycling in spain, the most common bins are those for Glass and Plastic. You will find fewer for the Paper, Oils and Used Clothing.
Table of Contents
- How to Recycle in Spain
- Do you know what do the colors mean? Can you explain what goes in each Recycle Bin? What do you call a recycling bin in Spanish? “tacho de reciclaje”
- Green Dome Recycle Bin (pictured above to the far right)
- Yellow Recycle Bin (pictured above second from the right)
- Blue Recycle Bin (pictured above second from the left)
- Tall Bright Green Recycle Bin (pictured above on the far left)
- Orange / Brown Recycle Bin
- New Recycle and Rubbish Bins!
- Disposal & Recycle Household Goods and Furniture
- Drop Off Recycle Electronics, Electronic Equipment, Household Items
- Standard trash
- What to do with waste
- Get Involved & Help The Community Join the Playa Patrol !
How to Recycle in Spain
We will try to help guide you, so you know what belongs in each of the recycle bins. Sometimes you may need to hunt around for a couple of them, but they do exist, so please do your part to recycle. The photo above shows what they look like in Almuñécar, but they may look different in other parts of Spain, like recycling in Malaga or Madrid. The color coding will remain the same, no matter where you are in the country, so please remember to recycle in Spain.
Do you know what do the colors mean?
Can you explain what goes in each Recycle Bin?
What do you call a recycling bin in Spanish? “tacho de reciclaje”
Green Dome Recycle Bin (pictured above to the far right)
Glass Bottles, Jars and Containers – do not include the metal lids to jars.
Yellow Recycle Bin (pictured above second from the right)
Unfortunately we don’t have many of the plastic recycling machines around, but at least there are options for drop off.
Only three types of containers should be deposited in the yellow container:
- Plastic containers such as bottles of soft drinks, mineral water, detergents, softeners, shopping bags, trays of white cork or porexpan, yogurt tubs, etc.
- Metal containers such as tin cans and aluminum cans of soft drinks, beer, preserves, aluminum trays, etc.
- Brick type containers of milk, juices, soups and food such as sugar, legumes, etc.
- The bread bags half paper and plastic too
In the yellow recycling bin you can place:
- Recycle Plastic containers (Envases de plastico) – many of the plastic containers are made to easily be compacted.
- Recycle Metal containers (Envases de metalicos) tin or can = lata
Please be sure to rinse these prior to recycling, to help keep the recycle bins clean and free from unwanted critters.
- Recycle Plastic bags (Bolsas de plastico) – It is often good to just reuse your plastic bags, but when you are finished with them, please recycle. A better option is to purchase the reusable bags from the supermarkets and limit your use of plastic bags.
- Recycle Bricks or Tetra Pak (Bricks) – Most commonly used for packaging liquids like milk, juice, tomato sauce and more.
Blue Recycle Bin (pictured above second from the left)
- Recycle Paper (Papel) – standard office papers, magazines or newspaper.
- Recycle Cardboard (Cartón) – cardboard boxes, cereal boxes and the like. (Not milk and juice, those go in the yellow)What to deposit:Newspapers, magazines, comics, cardboard, paper or cardboard packaging, brochures, envelopes, folios, advertising, folded cartons well folded, all kinds of cardboard boxes (breakfast cereals, cookies, shoes, precooked meals), paper, sheets, newspapers, magazines, notebooks, etc.What not to deposit:Dirty papers (toilet paper, kitchen roll, napkins), tracing paper, plastic paper …
Tall Bright Green Recycle Bin (pictured above on the far left)
- Recycle Used Clothing (Ropas Usado) – It doesn’t have to be used, but the intent is to recycle your used clothing, so perhaps others in need will be able to use them. You may also use this bin for blankets, shoes and toys.
- Recycle Used Shoes (Zapatos Usado) – The same goes for your shoes, but please don’t use as a garbage bin.The green container is intended only for glass containers (bottles of wine, champagne, liquors, perfume bottles, glass jars for preserves, jam, etc.). Do not throw fluorescents, light bulbs, mirrors, glasses, plates, broken ashtrays. The luminaires can be taken to the store in which they were purchased or to the clean point.
Orange / Brown Recycle Bin
- Recycle Domestic Greases and Oils (Aceites domestico)
You won’t see these as often, but they’re for recycling used cooking oil, reciclado de aceite usado de cocina. Many specifically state you are to fill a plastic bottle with the oil and deposit the bottle in the orange bin. Pouring used cooking oil down the drain can cause a series of problems, including clogging pipes. Recycled oil can be used for things, like making soap or even as biodiesel, for sustainable transportation.
- Recycle Domestic Greases and Oils (Aceites domestico)
New Recycle and Rubbish Bins!
Solid Grey Bin
The bin without all of the fancy colors, on the far right in the photo above, is your standard rubbish bin or garbage can. Thi sis for organic materials or things that can’t be recycled. These larger bins have now been placed near many of the recycle bins, versus the smaller cans on wheels for individual buildings. This means you may need to walk a little further to dispose of your day to day rubbish. On the bright side, it is better at keeping animals out of the bin and they can’t tip it over!
Disposal & Recycle Household Goods and Furniture
The equipment collection service is restarted with a new schedule‼ ️
Almuñécar pick-up day: items may be placed outside Monday from 21:00 (call before 15:00)
Día️ La Herradura pick-up day: items may be placed outside Tuesday from 21:00 (call before 15:00)
☎️ Mandatory notices at 900 107 709 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to recycle or dispose of household goods (Mirrors, Furniture, Shelving, Appliances, Chairs, etc.), or items due to remodeling, please place the items out near your garbage bin on Monday nights in Almuñécar. The odd things will be collected every Monday night / Tuesday Morning, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning. If you have large items or many items, it may be best to contact the Town Hall and be sure the pick up happens. Place your items outside from 21:00 on the night.
You may also schedule via this website.
Free pick up on public roads by town hall (you must request in advance)
Those interested in removing furniture, household appliances, shelving or other large objects should call the appropriate number in advance. When you call, please tell them the exact location for pick up and confirm it will be the upcoming pick up day.
Almuñécar, 900 107 709 you must call in advance from 09:00 – 14:00 Monday – Friday
You can only place the items on the street at night, on Monday after 21:00.
Remember that the collection will need to be on a public road in Almuñécar and it will take place on Tuesday morning, with prior notice. You may also schedule via this website.
La Herradura, 900 107 709, you must call in advance from 09:00 – 14:00 Monday – Friday
You can only place the items on the street at night, on Tuesday after 21:00.
You should remember that the collection will need to be on a public road in La Herradura and it will take place on Wednesday morning.
On a side note: This is also a great opportunity to apply the “reuse” concept and go out hunting for hidden treasures, which you can bring new life to. Perhaps you will find some furniture, which needs a little tender loving care to bring it back to life.
Drop Off Recycle Electronics, Electronic Equipment, Household Items
Do you have waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)? Recycle and disposal of: Electronic equipment, stoves, ovens, pain, used oil, paper, cardboard, television, plastics, wood, fridge, washer, dryer, paint, and more in Motril.
Open Monday – Saturday 09:00 – 14:00
There is usually a battery collection point at the entrance of the local grocery stores, like Mercadona and Dia.
Click here for more information about recycling batteries.
Recycle Mobile Phone
Usually the grey or solid dark green plastic bins are for standard household trash and not anything which can be recycled. For most of the municipality, the garbage is collected daily. If you live in the city center or old town pedestrian only zone, you may place your trash out at night after 9 pm.
What to do with waste
Do you still have questions? View the complete guide on what can be recycled.
If you do not know what to do with a device, check this guide and find out who can help you know how to recycle it correctly.
There are some great products to help you keep your recycled goods organized in your home. You may not be able to recycle absolutely everything, but as long as you try to do your part about recycling in Spain!
Recycle in Spain Vocabulary
Reciclalo (Recycle It!)
How to say recycle in Spanish – reciclar,
Spanish – English
- Aceites – Oils
- Bolsa – Bag
- Carton – Cardboard
- Envases – Container
- Lata – Can or Tin
- Metalicos – Metals
- Papel – Paper
- Plastico – Plastic
- Ropas – Clothing
- Zapatos – Shoes
Items which should not be recycled: (aerosol cans, ceramics, dishes, light bulbs, pizza boxes, scrap metal, waxed boxes, window glass)
With the amount of recycling containers scattered all over, you have little to no excuse not to recycle in Spain. Thank you for taking the time to recycle. Please set a good example and help encourage others to recycle as well.
For more information on recycling in Spain or where to recycle specific materials, check here.
Though this article is not specific to Spain, it has some great information about recycling and thinking green.
The goal of the European Union is that by 2020 all European countries will recycle at least 50% of household and similar waste. When you’re in Spain, make sure you pitch in to help reach that goal!
Get Involved & Help The Community
Join the Playa Patrol !
Local beach cleanup days are a great way to give back to the community and make our La Herradura & Almuñécar beaches nicer!
We love living in La Herradura & Almuñécar! Living on the sea means that we are even more aware of the harm that single-use plastic (drinking straws, water bottles, snack bags, juice boxes), cigarette butts and lost fishing gear have on our little slice of paradise. Why not join us at a scheduled beach cleanup? Bring the family and get involved in keeping our sea plastic free. Find out more here.