Barcelona’s Metropolitan Area commits to a zero waste plan


26 Feb 2019


Spain’s second largest area just released its zero waste strategy plan with clear objectives for 2025.

With 4.5 million inhabitants and a current 30% separate collection rate, it seems that Barcelona is very unlikely to meet the 50% recycling target for 2020. However, rather than being passive, the metropolitan area, composed of 36 municipalities including Barcelona, decided to act to improve their waste management system. The zero waste plan arrives less than 5 months after Spain was identified as at risk of missing the 50% recycling targets in 2020 (1).

“We realised that if we don’t change the way we collect and manage our waste it would be impossible for Barcelona and surroundings to meet the EU targets”

Eloi Badia, Vice President of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.

As separate collection is the key requirement for recycling, the area plans to increase it by 25% in 6 years, thus targeting a 55% separate collection rate by 2025. Among many other measures, and in accordance with municipalities, the strategy includes the implementation of an individualised system of collection and a waste fee linked to the volume of waste generation, to encourage the population to sort their waste.

But the zero waste plan does not stop here and the strategy provides clear incentives for waste prevention.

In the following of the European single-use plastics directive, the area commits to reduce single-use and non-recyclable plastic products.

The measure in numbers:

  • Estimated GHG savings between 160 and 250.000 tonnes/year
  • Creation of about 1500 high-quality jobs in waste collection, reuse and recycling
  • 20 million total savings/year

“Zero Waste commitments from highly urbanised and densely populated areas like Barcelona clearly show the way forward. With half of the EU States at risk of missing the 2020 recycling targets the reaction must be to quickly act in an efficient way just as Barcelona is doing.”

Pierre Condamine, Waste Policy Officer for Zero Waste Europe


Press Contact: Pierre Condamine, Waste Policy Officer, Zero Waste Europe
[email protected]
+32 (0) 2 73 62 091