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Game over – Guipuzkoa’s incinerator

by Joan Marc Simon

The expensive & dangerous adventure of building an incinerator in Gipuzkoa is finally over. After a long process the project has been cancelled.

Video with French subtitles click here / Video in Spanish click here / Video in Euskera click here.

Gipuzkoa is located in the north of Spain, in one of the richest regions, with a GDP similar to that of Germany or Denmark and a population of 710,000hab. Yet, like the rest of Spain, Gipuzkoans have been sending 70% most of its waste to landfills until not too long ago.

Over the last years the Zero Waste groups in the country have been pushing for the change in the waste and resources paradigm. The town of Usurbil pioneered a system that was followed by Hernani and others in what today is a growing tide in the country.

At the end of this text you can see the fast progression of Zero Waste initiatives which would have been stopped if the incinerator would have been built, effectively locking the prospects for recycling. Today reuse and recycling go up and waste generation goes down.

In only one decade Gipuzkoa will have been able to move from 30 to more than 70% separate collection and is engaging all players in society in the path towards Zero Waste.

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There are 3 comments
  1. Wayne T. Williams

    Zero Waste is smart. Pollution is stupid. Bravo, Espanya for recycling so much so fast. Keep it up and be an example for the world!

  2. It is very interesting to see Spain recycling so much, so fast once they made up their minds to do it. Recycling and Reuse is one of the prime economic indicators of, in this case, a recovering economy, since many, many jobs are created through recycling and reuse.

    Take a look at my book “Kissing the Hand of the Dead” through AuthorHouse for interesting reading on setting a new philosophy aimed at Zero Waste and living in harmony with nature.

  3. Ken Drew

    Can you make this in Thai subtitles?

    I’m creating a campaign to stop Bangkok from building its first incinerator which is due this summer! If anyone wants to contribute to this campaign, please email me at

    Hopefully the victory in Spain can be realized in the rural, yet rapidly industralized South East Asia where the pending success of the planned Bangkok incinerator will determine if foreign investors will build incinerators all over SE Asia.

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