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How to keep Barcelona clean and green

How to keep Barcelona clean and green
Written by Karen

It’s not just what we see in Barcelona that gives the city its vibrancy and beauty. It’s also what we don’t: the rubbish. One of the reasons we enjoy life in this cosmopolitan city so much is its clean and green environment. As visitors and residents, we can all make a contribution to keep Barcelona beautiful by understanding how the city’s waste collection service works.

According to the Ajuntament of Barcelona, each household has a waste collection service just 100 meters from its front door. This makes it easy for everyone to step up and fulfill their civic duty by recycling.

Related article: How to be environmentally friendly in Barcelona

Barcelona's blue, green and yellow waste containersYellow for cans and cartons

The yellow container is for plastics, such as water bottles, plastic bags and perishable containers like yoghurt, drinks, food tins as well as cartons, plates, metal lids, aluminum foil, cling film and polystyrene trays. Be sure not to include items such as watering hoses, tubes, videotapes and CDs as well as packaging from dangerous products like solvent or paint.

Green for glass

The main use of the green container is for glass jars and bottles. This container should not be used to dispose of broken glasses, flat glass, mirrors, ceramic remains, dishes, light bulbs, and fluorescents.

Blue for paper and cardboard

The blue container is for packaging and cardboard boxes, newspapers, magazines, books without wire binding, envelopes, paper bags, sheets and wrapping paper. It should not be used for dirty materials such as paper napkins or paper towels stained with oil – these should be thrown in the brown container.

Brown for organic

The brown container is for all of your leftovers, such as meat, fish, bread, fruit, vegetables, seafood, nuts, egg shells, corks, tea bags, coffee grounds, paper towels and napkins stained with oil and gardening waste. It should not be used for sweeping debris, hair, diapers and animal waste, which should be thrown into the grey container.

Grey for other waste

Barcelona's grey and brown waste containerThe grey container is designed for waste that cannot be reused or recycled. It should be used for items such as cigarette ends, sanitary towels, diapers, sweeping debris, cotton, hair, used pens and pencils, as well as animal waste.

The city also provides special services for waste collection that may fall outside of the use of these containers, for items like old furniture and clothes, dead animals, debris bags of gardening waste, fiber cement or asbestos. 

Check out Ajuntament of Barcelona for more information.

About the author


Karen is a writer with a love for music, travel and vermouth on Sundays, who lives and works in Barcelona.

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