As you know, we at Sonneil are lovers of the good life. This includes respecting the landscape and the places we live in. Waste recycling is essential to accomplish this.

Today we give you the opportunity to learn how to recycle in Spain so that our seas, mountains, rivers… stay clean and healthy. Because there is much to discover on our coast.

Types of recyclable waste

We consume a lot of packaged products every day. From the sliced bread at breakfast to the glass of milk before bed. The ideal is to buy as much as possible in bulk to generate less waste.

In any case, if you want to know how to recycle in Spain, good news is we can recycle almost all the packaging we use. We tell you which ones:

  • PET plastics. These are the plastics used for water or soft drink bottles. It is very easy to recycle them and thus we prevent them from ending up in our oceans. It takes about 450 years for a bottle to disappear! Not to mention other plastic packaging such as bags of chips and other snacks, caps and lids, plastic bags, yogurt cups…
  • HDPE plastics. It is high-density polyethylene, which is used to make bottles of detergent, bleach, shampoo… Although it is true that we can use them for longer periods than PET bottles, that does not mean that they cannot be recycled!
  • Tetrapak cartons. Tetrapak containers are everywhere. Juice, milk… even wine! 
  • Aluminium. The best thing about aluminium is that it is 100% recyclable and does not lose its qualities. So do not hesitate and recycle all the cans you use (soda cans, food tins…). Just make sure you crush them first.
  • Paper and cardboard. Newspapers, magazines, shoe boxes, notebooks… The best thing about recycling paper is that it helps reduce the exploitation of natural resources. The trees (and your health) will thank you. Let’s keep the air clean!
  • Glass. Bottles, jars, pots… glass can be completely recycled as many times as required. In addition to recycling, do not forget that glass is also great for reuse, since it is easily washed and can be repurposed as a vase, a container for bulk food…

Choose the right container

We already know which materials and packaging can be recycled. Now it is time to visit the bins and, most importantly, to know in which one we should deposit our waste. It is very easy! Check it out:


Contenedor amarillo | Ecoembes Dudas del reciclaje

Watch out! Note that only containers may be placed in this bin. They must be plastic containers, bottles, tetrapaks or cans. These bins have been on the streets of Spain for 20 years now, but still a third of the population does not know very well how to use them. 

Here is a list of things you can thrown into the yellow bin:

  • Plastic bottles
  • Tins
  • Plastic, tin or metal caps and plugs
  • Aluminium trays
  • Tin foil and aluminium foil
  • Aerosols
  • Deodorant spray cans
  • Plastic bags (except garbage bags)
  • Yogurt pots and lids
  • Tetrapaks: milk, juice, soup, etc.
  • White foam trays
  • Toothpaste tubes

Do not assume that any plastic object is deposited here. Use the non-recyclable waste bin if you have to throw away toys, baby bottles, kitchen utensils, lunch boxes, aluminium coffee capsules, silicone cooking moulds… 


Contenedor azul | Ecoembes Dudas del reciclaje

The blue bin is simpler than the yellow one, because only paper and cardboard can be deposited in it. Easy, right? We recommend that you fold the boxes before throwing them away so that they take up less space. 

The most common paper and cardboard wastes are:

  • Food containers
  • Shoe boxes
  • Frozen product packaging
  • Wrapping paper
  • Used sheets of paper 

The most common mistake we make with the blue bin is depositing tetrapaks in it because we mistake them for cardboard. But that is not the case! Tetrapaks always go in the yellow bin because they are made of cardboard, plastic and aluminium. If you throw away dirty napkins or papers, remember that they go in the organic waste container, as they are impregnated with other substances.


How to recycle in Spain

It often seems easy to know what to throw in the green bin, right? We all know what glass is… But nothing could be further from the truth!

Very often we mistake glass for crystal, and end up depositing objects in this bin that should not go here. Avoid throwing light bulbs (they should be taken to your local recycling centre), mirrors, ashtrays, drinking glasses, dishes… and stick to this:

  • Glass bottles (wine, champagne…)
  • Glass flasks (such as perfume or cologne containers)
  • Food jars (jams, preserves, etc.)

Spain is one of the countries with more green bins per capita. Let’s make the most of them!


How to recycle in Spain

You may never have seen a brown container, and not all Autonomous Communities have them. If you are lucky enough to have one close to home, you should know that these are the bins where you should deposit your organic waste.

This bin was created as a complement to the grey bin in order to group waste that can be composted and used as a fertilizer or energy generator, such as:

  • food scraps (fruit skins, fish bones, plants, eggshells…)
  • used napkins and kitchen towels


How to recycle in Spain

Now that you have separated all types of recyclable waste, the waste you have left is the waste that cannot be recycled or used to make compost. This type of waste is deposited in the grey bin. Toys, baby bottles, pacifiers, kitchen utensils, nappies, ceramic objects, sanitary towels, pet litter, hair, dust, cigarette butts… simple!

Local recycling centre

How to recycle in Spain

The local recycling centre is largely unknown, and unfortunately we do not visit it as often as we should. It is used for waste that cannot be placed in conventional containers due to its large size or dangerous nature. This waste is stored temporarily in these recycling centres, which can be:

  • Permanent. They are always in the same location and are of large dimensions.
  • Suburban. Smaller than permanent centres, they are close to the neighbourhood.
  • Mobile. A specialized vehicle approaches small areas to collect the waste. 

You can check the recycling centres near your place of residence here.

We hope that this article will help you know how to recycle in Spain and take care of the environment. If we all do our part, the wonderful paradises on the Spanish coast will remain healthy for a long time and at Sonneil we will be able to help you discover them.